HomeNewsArticle Display

Airman Heritage Museum displays Women in the Air Force’s rich history

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the USAF Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the U.S. Air Force Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the USAF Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the U.S. Air Force Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the USAF Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

Artifacts from the Women in the Air Force gallery are displayed in the U.S. Air Force Airman Heritage Training Complex, Aug. 10, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airman Heritage Museum collects, researches, preserves, interprets and presents the USAF Enlisted Corps history, heritage, and traditions to develop Airmen today and for tomorrow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Shortly after the official formation of the U.S. Air Force as a distinct force, then-President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948 that established the Women in the Air Force program, allowing women to become service members in the military.

In spite of this unprecedented legislation, women were not exempt from gender disparity in the military. There were only 300 officer and 4,000 enlisted slots open to women – 2% of the force – and the women who were able to serve were limited to clerical and medical duties.

Located in a single exhibit area of the
Airman Heritage Museum at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is a WAF gallery that invites us to remember these unique plights – and inevitable triumphs – of the first women who were afforded the opportunity to serve.

“As a heritage museum, it falls upon us to tell that story, no matter how painful the memory,” said William Manchester, Airman Heritage Training Complex director. “We focus on the success of these women, while also ensuring our visitors know the difficult struggles of various eras, and how our Air Force has worked to overcome them.

The WAF gallery consists of mannequins adorned in various WAF uniforms from the 1940s–1980s, including the Wool Winter Service Dress and Green-and-White seresucker fatigues carried over from the Women’s Army Corp personnel, and ‘50s-era uniforms that showcase the transition from Army green to Air Force blue.

Other uniforms displayed are those first worn by the WAFs, which were adaptations of men’s uniforms with standard neckties. As the need grew for more practical wear for women, the Air Force developed uniforms that mirrored clothing worn by commercial flight attendants, highlighting the impact WAFs had on shaping our modern Air Force, according to Manchester.

The gallery also includes a patch, stripes and insignia pin regalia of the WAF Band, subsequently known as the 543rd Air Force Band, an all-women band that formed in 1951 at JBSA-Lackland.


Among additional artifacts on display is the pen used by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 to sign legislation eliminating the 2% limit on female officers – a symbol of emerging equality.

“The display showcases another milestone in our diverse Air Force heritage,” said Senior Master Sgt. Sonjia Rodriguez, Airman Heritage Museum superintendent. “It honors the women who actually lived and served prior to and during the Air Force’s full integration of women into the service.”

Nine years later, the WAF program ended in 1976 when women were integrated into the Air Force on many of the same conditions as men, but its rich history still echoes in the halls of the Airmen Heritage Museum, inspiring future generations of female Airmen.

“We want to pass on to our young female trainees that not only are they part of a rich Air Force tradition, but that they are the newest in a long line of women who have answered our nation’s call to service,” Manchester said.


With more than 55,000 visitors in 2019, the primary mission of the museum is to educate Airmen on the history of the Air Force, and to educate, train, inspire and serve as a recruiting tool for civilian visitors.

For more information on the USAF Airman Heritage Museum, visit
https://myairmanmuseum.org/.

Engage

Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: ✈️Planes in the air....Maintenance put them there! https://t.co/gtxVl4klLU
Twitter
RT @RamsteinAirBase: No airfield? No Problem. The 435th CRG enhances their ability to build expeditionary airfields on demand during exerc…
Twitter
Load 'em up! The 60th Aerial Port Squadron is the @US_TRANSCOM's primary west coast aerial port, providing global… https://t.co/MRtQdKCK7h
Twitter
RT @AFWERX: 1 week until #AFWERXAccelerate! We've got networking opportunities each day, as well as the chance for government, industry, an…
Twitter
Maintaining base readiness 👨‍🚒 👩‍🚒 Firefighters assigned to the 48th Civil Engineering Squadron conducted a joint… https://t.co/mMSCCVSR4U
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Happy Monday! Read this over the weekend. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate & enjoy peace of mind, & peace in li…
Twitter
Delivering rapid air power The 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron conducted hot-pit refueling in sup… https://t.co/6Q0obGCu5q
Twitter
Congratulations, MSgt Roslyn Ball! Ball credits the mentorship and bonds she’s shared with her fellow military tra… https://t.co/z4QZhr8Pek
Twitter
A passion for aviation and space A1C Sourav Basu Roy, an air transportation specialist assigned to the 482nd Fight… https://t.co/hd6hdkYpIa
Twitter
Joint training Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft participated in “Brother’s Shield,” a Colombian Ai… https://t.co/DErzNXkFQM
Twitter
#SundayRead SSgt Elizabeth McJannet-Bratton was crowned Miss Alaska Collegiate 2021; her platform, Combat Boots to… https://t.co/v99jOVmOkZ
Twitter
Celebrating service @USArmy retired Maj. Anthony Grant has given 45 years of service between the Army and Air Forc… https://t.co/Yzz8IWbaXM
Twitter
#AimHigh! TSgt Kayla Castagnetta helps Airmen deploy and creates them as well. She is the only qualified Airman wh… https://t.co/Xg7Z1GErZ4
Twitter
In today’s competency-based approach to Force Development, the #USAF will now be able to capture an Airman’s knowle… https://t.co/Uem2kWikrw
Twitter
Because the 97th Air Mobility Wing’s focus is on training mobility Airmen, the intel flight generates training miss… https://t.co/PG4doMIqvO
Twitter
Col David S. Miller, 377th Air Base Wing commander, recognizes the contributions of Native Americans in honor of Am… https://t.co/8wYjxE8iWO
Twitter
'Tis the season ❄️ Special warfare Airmen conduct training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The small… https://t.co/SGjNKpNdYf
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: ICYMI: F16s from @Spangdahlem_AB are in the @CENTCOM AoR as part of a dynamic force employment to deter aggression & promote…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,314,237
Follow Us