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Check Six – 1956: First Female Guardmember Sworn In

August 28, 2016

On August 1, 1956, Captain Norma Parsons-Erb became the first woman to legally join the Air National Guard when she was sworn in as a nurse in the 106th Tactical Hospital, New York Air National Guard.

Two days earlier, Congress had enacted Public Law 845 allowing the participation of women in the National Guard. However, the law allowed for women to serve only as officers serving in nursing and other medical fields;

Before joining the Air Guard, Captain Parsons had served on active duty with the Army Air Force in the China-Burma-India Theater and as an Air Force nurse in-theater Korea during the conflict. Parsons-Erb retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1967.

Women could not enter the Air Guard in non-nursing fields until November 1967 when Congress removed a two percent personnel strength and rank ceiling limitation imposed by the Women’s Armed Services Act of 1948.  Consequently, on July 1, 1968, the National Guard Bureau authorized the states to enlisted and appoint women to non-medical positions.

From → History

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