News | June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020 the first Women Veterans Day in Ohio

By Brenda Minnema DLA Land and Maritime People and Culture

June 12, 2020 is the first time Ohio honors it women veterans.  On Dec. 13, 2019 Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 77 into law designating June 12 as Woman Veterans Day, honoring women who have served in the military.  This bi-partisan bill was introduced by Ohio Senators, Sandra Williams, a U.S. Army veteran and Frank Hoagland, a retired U.S. Navy Seal.

The observance in Ohio falls on the 72nd anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948.  President Truman signed the executive order after Congress passed the Act, led by Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine.  The act authorized regular and reserve status for women in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.  Prior to the order, the only women who could serve during peacetime were nurses.

SFC Angela Beltz, a retired U.S. Army veteran and fellow Defence Supply Center Columbus associate, played an intregal part in making this day a reality.  Beltz works at DFAS Columbus’ Organization Management Office, testified in support of the bill when it was introduced in 2018.   Beltz is a Veteran Advocate and current Chair of the Ohio Women Veterans Advisory Committee.  This committee hosts one of the largest biennial Women Veterans Conferences in the country.  

“Women have been serving in an unofficial capacity in every conflict the United States has been involved in.” Beltz said in her testimony, “During the Revolutionary War, Molly “Pitcher” Hays went with her husband to the Battle of Monmouth.  She carried pitchers of cold water for the Soldiers to drink and to pour over the cannons when they grew too hot.  When her husband was injured, she picked up where he left off and continued firing his cannon.  Another example is “General” Harriet Tubman; she led a military operation called the Combahee River Raid in June 1863, which resulted in the freedom of over 700 slaves.  In 2015, Captain Shaye Lynne Haver and Kristen Griest, were the first two female Soldiers to graduate from the US Army Ranger School.  All of these women are why we are celebrating our Sisters In Arms on this historic day in Ohio.” 
Beltz continues, “The limitations for most jobs in all branches of the military have been removed; we have Rangers, Infantry and quite possibly Special Forces and Seals soon.  The sky is the limit thanks to many trailblazers before us.” 

Ohio joins Texas, New York, California and Oregon observing June 12 as Women Veterans Day.