10 Notable Moments for Women in Navy Medicine

Editor’s note: Although this blog honors several individuals, there are thousands of remarkable women who contribute to the Navy Medicine mission and continue to make an impact every day.

  1. 1942: Navy nurse superintendent Sue Dauser is the first woman in the Navy to serve as a captain. She received her commission in the Navy on Oct. 16, 1917.
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  2. Feb. 1, 1943: First female hospital corpsmen report to recruit training at Hunter College, New York.
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  3. Nov. 1944: The destroyer, USS Higbee (DD-806) was commissioned. The ship was named for former Nurse Corps superintendent Lenah Higbee. The ship was the first to be named after a living woman and the only ship to be named after a Navy nurse.
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  4. Jul. 12, 1948: Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class Ruth Flora becomes the first woman hospital corpsman in the Navy.
    5. Ruth Flora, 1948
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  5. 1950: Ensign Kay Katherine Keating was appointed the first female pharmacy officer in the Medical Service Corps.
    7b. Kay Keating
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  6. Jun. 1, 1972: Navy nurse Alene Duerk is promoted to rear admiral becoming the first woman to attain flag rank in the Navy.
    13a. Duerk
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian)

     

  7. April 2002: Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Jacqueline DiRosa is appointed force master chief of Navy Medicine and director of the Hospital Corps. She was the first woman to serve as force master chief and the first to use the designation “FORCM.”
    U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)
    U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

     

  8. 2005: Dental Corps officer, Capt. Lena A. Hartzell (then Cmdr. Hartzell), earned the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as political advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Salah ad-Din, Iraq, from Oct. 13, 2003 to Mar. 11, 2004. She was the first female Dental Corps officer to be awarded this honor.
    (Photo Courtesy of BUMED Historian)
    (Photo courtesy of BUMED historian

     

  9. November 2007: Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Laura Martinez is appointed force master chief of Navy Medicine and director of the Hospital Corps. She was the first African American and second female force master chief.
    (U.S. Navy photo by Bill W. Love/Released)
    (U.S. Navy photo by Bill W. Love/Released)

     

  10. Sept. 2015: Medical Corps officer, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, was selected to be the director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). From Sept. 2013 to Oct. 2015, she served as director, National Capital Region Medical Directorate of the Defense Health Agency, and as the 11th Chief, Navy Medical Corps. She is the first female physician in Navy history to be promoted to the rank of vice admiral.
    (Photo courtesy of Defense Health Agency public affairs)
    (Photo courtesy of Defense Health Agency public affairs)