Diverse and United: State Defense Forces Celebrate Women’s Vital Roles During International Women’s Month

International Women’s Month is celebrated globally in March, dedicated to honoring the achievements and contributions of women throughout history and across nations. It’s a time to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality, to call for further changes, and to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. This special month not only highlights the accomplishments of women but also raises awareness about the challenges they continue to face in the quest for gender equality.

Across the nation, State Defense Forces are joining in the celebration of International Women’s Month by recognizing the diverse and vital roles women play within their ranks. Women from all walks of life—doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, and former soldiers who have served in the U.S. Military, among others—bring their unique skills and perspectives to serve their communities, states, and country. Thanks to these incredible women State Defense Forces not only enhance their operational capabilities but also embody the principles of equality and diversity that International Women’s Month seeks to promote.

Texas State Guard:

Tennessee State Guard:

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us not only honor the trailblazers of the past but also recognize and uplift the women who currently serve. Fortunately, there are fewer instances in 2024 when a woman is the first woman to achieve an accomplishment, a testament to the many years of progress. Even so, the dedication and service of all the women of the South Carolina State Guard is deserving of recognition.
Whether they’re providing medical first aid, coordinating logistics, or offering support to their fellow service members, their leadership, professionalism and dedication serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of women in the military. Their leadership is not defined by gender but by competence, personal courage, integrity, and a deep-seated sense of duty. They inspire us all with their resilience and determination, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations of women in service.

Connecticut Governors Guards:
As many of you may know, March is International Women’s month and today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day.
The First Company Governor’s Foot Guard prides itself on its diversity, but notably it was not until 1992, that the First Company had its very first two female Privates, both of who joined the band.
We would like to begin our “Grenadier Greetings” series with introducing you to the women who make up this Unit.
Meet Corporal Jessica Accetta who is in Headquarters Platoon and is the assistant to the Public Affairs Officer.
CPL Accetta loves to hike and is a Firefighter and EMT. She resides in Deep River with her boyfriend and fur baby, Cedar.

Meet Corporal Marissa Tripp who joined the Unit in 2021 and spent her first enlisted years as a Rifleman, having been also involved in the Training Cadre, and now is an asset to our Headquarters Platoon.
CPL Tripp loves to crotchet, fish keep, and ride horses. She is the Director of Ticketing for Goodworks Entertainment and oversees all ticketing and customer service for 2 New England based music festivals, a free concert series at the Old State House in Hartford, 2 brick and mortar concert venues, and 2 concert series at local breweries in Connecticut.
She resides in Glastonbury with her husband, their son, and their cat- SSG SnowPants!



A Special Article from US Army:

Meet Dr. Mary Walker: The only female Medal of Honor recipient

By Katie Lange, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

March 7, 2017

Dr. Mary Walker wearing her Medal of Honor

Out of the nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients, only one was a woman — just one — and her medal was actually rescinded just before she died.


In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re looking back on the life of that exceptional woman: Dr. Mary Walker, who helped change the face of medicine during the Civil War.


Walker was born in Oswego, New York, to abolitionist parents who encouraged her to pursue an education. She really embraced that idea and in 1855 graduated as a medical doctor from Syracuse Medical College.


Walker went into private practice for a few years, but then the Civil War broke out in 1861. She wanted to join the Army as a surgeon but wasn’t allowed because she was a woman. Because of her credentials, she didn’t want to be a nurse, either, so she chose to volunteer for the Union Army.

Helping However She Could

Walker worked for free at the temporary hospital set up at the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. She also organized the Women’s Relief Organization to help the families of the wounded who came to visit them at local hospitals.


In 1862, Walker moved on to Virginia, this time treating the wounded at field hospitals throughout the state. In 1863, her medical credentials were finally accepted, so she moved to Tennessee, where she was appointed as a War Department surgeon. Her position was paid, and it was the equivalent of a lieutenant or captain.


Walker was captured in April 1864 by the South and held as a prisoner of war for about four months. She and other Union doctors were eventually exchanged in a prisoner-of-war swap for Confederate medical officers. According to the National Library of Medicine, sources say Walker had been captured intentionally so she could spy for the North, but there is little evidence to support that claim.


Not long after being released by the Confederates, Walker returned to her craft as an assigned medical director at a hospital for women prisoners in Kentucky.


Mary Walker in a Bloomer dress, 1860s.

Supporting Feminism

Aside from her wartime efforts, Walker was also an outspoken advocate for women’s rights.


As the war raged on, feminists also struggled to further their cause, which included being able to wear clothing that enabled better mobility. Walker chose to wear what was known as the “Bloomer costume” as a modified uniform all throughout the war. It was a dress-and-trouser combination that had gone out of favor long before the war began, but she didn’t care — she wore it anyway.


Walker eventually switched to wearing men’s clothes and was even arrested for impersonating a man several times. In her defense, she argued that she was given special permission by the government to dress that way.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, around 1911.

Medal of Honor Controversy

In November 1865, having left government service for good, Walker was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Andrew Johnson, even though she was a civilian who had never been a commissioned officer in military service.


That civilian status is why Walker’s medal was rescinded in 1917, two years before she died — along with 910 others. Walker refused to return the medal, though, and continued to wear it until she died two years later.


Sixty years after that, in 1977, President Jimmy Carter restored the honor in her name, thanks to efforts made by her family.

So thank you, Dr. Mary Walker, for representing all women in this long list of honorable Medal of Honor recipients!

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