Faces behind the fight




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"Quite honestly, I didn’t want to be the first, I actually asked if I could be the twelfth, thirteenth or fourteenth." -Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, U.S. Air Force

Leavitt became the first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing. Today she is responsible for 34 squadrons at 13 installations.









"Even though everybody in the military fights, I want to be a grunt. I think everything about it is for me, and I want to prove that females can do it." -Pfc. Maria Daume, U.S. Marine Corps

Daume was the first woman to graduate with a Marine Corps Infantry Contract in March 2017. One year earlier no women were allowed in the Marine Corps Infantry.









"'It' will never get better, but you will." -Ky Hunter, former AH-1W Super Cobra attack pilot, U.S. Marine Corps

Hunter is one of 32 women to serve as a cobra pilot in the Marines. Besides flying attack missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, she also fought to make sure the Marine who tried to rape her was held accountable.










"We can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men." -Capt. Kristen Griest, U.S. Army

In 2015, Griest was one of the first two women to earn the coveted Ranger tab. She later became the Army's first woman Infantry Officer.

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"I couldn't be more proud to wear the 'dolphins.' To have earned the respect of my fellow submariners is more rewarding than expected." -Chief Culinary Specialist Dominique Saavedra, U.S. Navy

In 2016, Saavedra became the first woman to don the enlisted submarine qualification insignia.

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"I want my presence to symbolize the fact that there are competent people out there, and as long as the standards don’t change, the best person for each job needs to be placed in that job." -Maj. Lisa Jaster, U.S. Army

In 2015, Jaster, a mother and engineer, became the first female Army Reserve Officer to become a Ranger. She was 37.