Women's Milestones in Naval History


Rear Admiral Marsha J. Evans, USN was the first woman to command a Naval Station. In 1990, then a Captain, she assumed command of Naval Station, Treasure Island, San Francisco, California.


Lieutenant Commander Darlene Iskra, USN was the first Navy woman to command a ship. Photograph of Iskra while commanding USS Opportune (ARS-41) in 1990.


In 1993, Congress repealed the Combat Exclusion Law allowing women to serve on combatant ships.


Rear Adm. Louise C. Wilmot, USN becomes Commander, Naval Base Philadelphia on July 7, the first woman to command a naval base. As the naval base commander, Admiral Wilmot was responsible for all naval stations and facilities in the Philadelphia area.


Carol Mutter became the first female three star officer in the military in 1996; Patricia Tracey became the second a few months later.

February 1998

Lillian Fishburne became the first black female promoted to flag rank in February 1998

10 June 1998

On 10 June 1998, CDR Maureen A. Farren became the first woman to command a combatant ship when she took command of USS Mount Vernon, an amphibious dock landing ship.

Capt. Vernice Armour, photo used with permission.


Captain Vernice Armour, USMC - earned her wings in 2001; the Department of Defense acknowledged her as the first female African American combat pilot in the military during Operation Iraqi Freedom; she completed two tours in the Persian Gulf; after leaving the Marine Corps, she became an international motivation speaker.

Leadership and Growth

2 August 2006

Angela Salina, first Hispanic woman Brigadier General in the Marine Corps on 2 August 2006


Captain Barbara A. Sisson retired in 2008 after a pioneering 28 year career in the Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps. She distinguished herself as the first female instructor at the Civil Engineer Corps Officer School and the first female regimental commodore of a CD regiment, the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment.

Zenaida Colon, a native of Puerto Rico and the Navy’s only female Master Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician (Aviation and Surface Warfare qualified), joined the USS Bataan crew.


In 2010 Captain Margaret G, Kibben was promoted to rear admiral and named the 18th Chaplain of the U.S. Marine Corps as well as Navy Deputy Chief of Chaplians.


9 January 2010

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that women would be assigned to Ohio Class submarines on 9 January 2010; the first women are expected to report to subs in 2011.

28 January 2010

On 28 January 2010, the Navy announced that Rear Admiral Nora Tyson would be the first female to command a carrier strike group; she will start her new assignment in June 2010.

Sara Joyner

3 June 2010

Cmdr. Sara Joyner, who was selected for promotion to captain, is the first women selected to head a Carrier Air Wing, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. Roughead made the announcement Thursday at the 23rd annual Women’s Leadership Symposium in Washington.

navy medicine logo

11 May 2012

Nine female Navy medical personnel have been assigned to Marine Corps combat battalions since those positions were opened to women this month, the Navy Bureau of Medicine said May 11.
Seven female corpsmen, E-6s and E-7s, plus two female medical officers have been assigned to the new jobs. They, as well as chaplains, fall under a Defense Department policy shift earlier this year that opened up 60 positions in ground combat units to Navy women.

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