5 Incredibly Inspiring Female Veterans

posted: 11/11/15
by: Mara Betsch

November 11th is Veteran's Day, which honors all the wonderful men and women who have served our country. TLC has plenty of veterans to celebrate and thank -- like Joe Faugno from the "Cake Boss" crew and Glenn Thore from "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" -- but there are nearly 1.4 million people actively serving our country right now. Though women make up just 14.5 percent of the total, their numbers have been increasing steadily over the past few decades and they've accomplished amazing things. Though each female veteran is a star in her own right, we wanted to honor these five incredible female vets -- and two promising up-and-comers.

Grace Murray Hopper (aka "Amazing Grace" ) was a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, but she was also a brilliant computer scientist. One of the first programmers, she invented the first compiler, which turns source code into programming language, and coined the term "debugging," among many other feats. She's such a legend that she even has a missile destroyer named after her -- the USS Hopper.

Eileen Collins was a pilot and one of four women chosen for pilot training at Vance Air Force Base. During Operation Grenada, she aided in evacuating medical students and their families. After she retired from the military, she worked for NASA and became the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle

Mary Edwards Walker was way ahead of her time. As an early feminist and abolitionist, she is the ONLY woman to ever have received a medal of honor, the highest military decoration. Though she wasn't technically in the military (it was the 1850s), she volunteered with the Union Army as a surgeon -- and was even captured by the confederate army at one point!

Army General Ann E. Dunwoody became the first female four-star general and received the USO's 2012 Distinguished Service Award. "I never grew up in an environment where I even heard of the words 'glass ceiling,'" she told Veterans Advantage.

Lauren Montoya, who is a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, spent time in Afghanistan conducting missions for Operation Enduring Freedom, and lost her leg during an attack there. Despite the amputation, she's currently training for the Warrior Games.

A photo posted by lauren montoya (@lamchoppin) on

Though these women are still in active duty, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver deserve recognition for being the first two women to graduate from Ranger School. Among other things, they were required to complete the physical fitness test that includes: 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes, six chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

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