Extraordinary
Women

  • Diana Gabaldon

     

    Brilliant author of the historical sci-fi adventure, Outlander books, novellas, and graphic novels. Herself, as fans call her, creates strong, loving, companionate female characters that span time.

  • Katherine Johnson. Dorothy Vaughan.        Mary Jackson.

    These brilliant African-American women worked as mathematicians and aerospace engineers at NASA and were referred to as human computers. Their work was instrumental in the successful launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.  

  • Rose Antonia Maria Valland

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    Rose Antonia Maria Valland (1 November 1898 – 18 September 1980) was a French art historian, a member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. She secretly recorded details of the Nazi plundering of National French and private Jewish-owned art from France.

  • Hedy Lamarr

     

    Beautiful and talented actress. Brilliant inventor. She may not have literally invented WiFi, she did invent an important precursor. In collaboration with George Antheil, Lamarr patented a frequency-hopping mechanism designed to keep Nazis from intercepting Allied transmissions during World War II. Not only is it impenetrable from a security perspective, it is the foundation used to develop Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

  • Margaret Atwood

    A Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayists, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. She has published 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 non-fiction books, 9 collections of short fiction, 8 children’s books, and 2 graphic novels.  A number of her works have been adapted for film and television.

  • Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz

    Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz

    Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz became the first female superintendent at any of the U.S. service academies. A 1982 Coast Guard Academy graduate and a surface operations officer with 12 years of sea duty, Admiral Stosz has plotted a course that includes many firsts for women in the military. Her performance in previous assignments as commanding officer for recruit training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., the Director of Reserve and Leadership, and the commanding officer of two cutters, has demonstrated a commitment to building a diverse workforce.

  • Nancy Grace Augusta Wake

    Nancy Wake

    Nancy Grace Augusta Wake (August 30, 1912 – August 07, 2011), also known as the “White Mouse”, was one of the most decorated secret agents of the Second World War. By war’s end in Europe she had become famed as a resourceful, dauntless Resistance leader, who topped the Gestapo’s most-wanted list and had saved hundreds of Allied lives. She parachuted behind enemy lines, dodged bullets many times, rode a bicycle 250 miles to alert the French resistance to the Normandy invasion, was involved in ambushing German convoys and destroying bridges and railway lines.

  • Temple Grandin

    Temple Grandin

    Temple Grandin (born August 27, 1947) is an American doctor of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons.

  • Bessie Coleman

    Bessie Coleman

    Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926) was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license.

  • Erma Bombeck

     

    Mrs. Bombeck was thirteen when she wrote her first newspaper column. Her syndicated column, “At Wit’s End,” was directed to the lonely plight of stay-at-home mothers and appeared in more than 900 newspapers. She spent twenty-seven years writing 4,500 columns and 12 books that touched the lives of an international audience of women, men and children. She was still writing her column and developing a new book when she died from complications of a kidney transplant in 1996.

  • Sally Ride

    Sally Ride

    Dr. Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) from Los Angeles, California, was an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut. She studied at Portola Middle School, Westlake School for Girls, Swarthmore College and Stanford University, and earned a master’s degree and PhD. Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983, became the first American woman, and then-youngest American, to enter space. In 1987 she left NASA to work at Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control.

  • Carol Mutter

    Carol Mutter

    Carol A. Mutter (born December 17, 1945) is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general. She is the first woman in the history of the United States Armed Forces to be appointed to a three-star grade. She retired from the Marine Corps on January 1, 1999. Her last active duty assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (DC/S, M&RA) at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

  • Betty Reid Soskin

    Betty Reid Soskin, the country’s oldest active ranger in the National Park Service, turned 100 years old Wednesday, September 21, 2021.  She’s a published author, a songwriter-activist, a businesswoman and now serves in the National Park service as the country’s oldest ranger.

    The century-old ranger leads tours and public programs, sharing her experiences and observations at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond California. In celebration of her milestone birthday the National Park Service created a special limited-edition ink stamp in her honor.

  •  Carol Burnett

     

    A comedian with a decades-long career. Her own beloved comedy TV show, a number of feature films and on Broadway. A published author and known to help young comedians starting out. She has been the recipient of numerous honors. American Comedy Awards, Emmy and Golden Globe awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Kennedy Center Honors, given to the creative minds who influence American culture with their art.

  • Antonia Novello

    Antonia Novello

    Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., (born August 23, 1944) is a Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as fourteenth Surgeon General of the United States from 1990 to 1993. Novello is the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General.

  • Pvt. Minnie Spotted Wolf

    Minnie Spotted Wolf

    Private Minnie Spotted-Wolf (1923 – 1988) was the first Native American woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. She enlisted in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in July 1943.

  • Sergeant Kimberly Munley

    Sergeant Kimberly Munley a civilian Department of Defense police officer at Ft Hood credited with stopping the firing rampage of an Army Major within a few minutes after he launched his attack. Munley, a 35 year old petite mother of two, put her life at risk and drew the attention of shooter. She fired and took the man down. But not before she was shot three times. Munley is credited with preventing many more deaths.

  • Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter is a cultural and feminist icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and war supplies.

  • Wives of Police Officers, Firemen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

  • World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots

    World War II Women Service Pilots

    A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program. They tested newly overhauled planes, towed targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting — with live ammunition. They ferried new planes from factories to military bases.  Most importantly their service freed a male pilot for combat duties.  The WASP expected to become part of the military during their service. Instead, the program was canceled after two years. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one, disappeared while on a ferry mission. In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were finally granted veteran status by Congress. Brave woman all.

     

  • SPAR Olivia Hooker: First African American Woman in the Coast Guard

    Olivia Hooker

    In February 1945, Olivia Hooker was sworn in by a Coast Guard officer, becoming the first African-American female admitted into the United States Coast Guard. Hooker joined the service to become a SPAR (Semper Paratus Always Ready), the acronym used for female service personnel during World War II. She remained in the Coast Guard until the war-time SPARs were disbanded by mid-1946. Dr. Hooker later earned a doctorate in psychology had a distinguished career as a professor.

  • Marjorie Harris Carr

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    (1915-1997) an American environmental activist. She is best known for leading the fight against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cross Florida Barge Canal. Carr and her colleagues won a temporary injunction against construction of the canal in January 1971. Days later, President Richard Nixon halted construction of the canal.

 

 

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Character Interview: Captain Nick Mahoney of Forever & Always

I’m meeting the Captain at the Quantico VA officers club. I park my car and walk to the entrance all the while enjoying the scenery. Men in uniform. Everywhere.

At the entrance I see a tall, well built man and as I get closer I know this is the Captain. He is as handsome as his wife, Sara, described him.  He leads me inside to a quiet table by a window and holds out my chair.

“Why do you want to interview me?” he says as he sits.  “Forever and Always is Sara’s story.”

“Yes it is. You are an integral part. Your life together makes the story.”

He nods.

“Before we begin,” his voice is a rich baritone and his expression serious, “I want you to know I never talk about our private life. With anyone. I’m here today because Sara asked me.”

He gives me the impression he will do anything Sara asks.

“I’ll give you basics but no intimate details. Understood?”

I almost answered, yes sir. Instead, I nod and get down to business.

“Tell me how you met. Sara’s told me her side. I want to hear yours.”

His lips twitch into a smile that spreads to his eyes.

“We met at the beach. My brother drove that day and he offered to give some girls a ride home. The car was already full and a couple of the girls had to sit on a boys lap. Sara sat on mine.” He pauses. It seems to me he is enjoying reliving the memory.

“Were you attracted to her?”

“Not for about….five minutes and then I kissed her.” He shook his head and looked like a little boy with his hand caught in the cookie jar. “I’d known her less than five minutes and I kissed her.”

“I take it this was not normal for you.”

“Nope. And it scared the crap out of me.”

The waitress brings us the coffee we’d ordered, ignores me and asks the Captain if she can get him anything else. Her body language saying she is definitely on the menu.

“Thanks,” he says, “coffee is all I need from here.”

Her do-me-now smile vanishes and she goes away.

Mahoney looks at me. “Sorry about that.”

I realize this is something he has dealt with before.

“Where were we?”  He says.

I snap my mind back to the interview.  “Did you ask her out?”

He shakes his head. “I asked around about her. Found out she was the daughter of the town upper crust. Father big in real estate. Mother big into being a snob and a bit..” he stops himself from finishing the word.  “As soon as I found out who her parents were I knew they would never approve of our dating.”

“She had to get permission?”

“She was fifteen and I didn’t want to cause her any trouble.”

“Did you come from the wrong side of the tracks?”

He laughs.  “Her family thought I did. We were farmers. To them we were rednecks. Didn’t make any difference we were the largest property owners in the tri-county area.

“How do you know they felt like that?”

“Her dad wanted to buy land from us for a development along the river. He offered to pay five cents on the dollar for what it was worth. Thought my gramps and dad were stupid. You can imagine were it went from there.”

“I can see why you stayed away.”

Mahoney is quiet.

“When did you see her again?”

“Oh, I saw her every school day. Sometimes on the weekends.” He washes a hand over his face and gives me what I would call a sly smile. “These days I think it’s called stalking.”

I am very surprised by this. Sara told me he avoided her.

“Did you know then you loved her?”

He cocks an eyebrow and gives me an are-you-serious-look.  “I was seventeen.”

O-kay. “When did you know you loved her?”

“The next school year. We ran into each other, literally, after school. It was raining, she came around a corner and crashed into me. I put my arms around her to keep her upright and she wrapped around me.  I maneuvered her against the building, under the eaves, to get out of the rain. The way she…”

He stopped going down the too-much-information highway and shifted in his chair.

“I kissed her and she kissed back.” The emotion previously gathering in his voice is now under control.  “By this time I’d dated, kissed and even..you know..” he pauses and I nod. “a few girls. That kiss was different. I was smart enough to know it was more than lust. Rattled me. I could have any girl, but the one I wanted. I look back and think the staying away could have had something to do with my fear.”

So much for no details. He drinks some coffee and begins again.

“I made a plan. As soon as she was out from under her parents I would be there.”

Men. “What if she found someone else in that time?”

“There are no what if’s. Only the right now’s. We’re together that’s all that’s important.”

This is clearly not an area open for discussion. I change the subject.

“You met again in college. What happened to staying away?”

“College.” He absently toys with the salt- shaker. “I was third year. It was her first year. A couple weeks after the semester began I saw her coming across the common in my direction. I was stunned. Last I heard, she’d applied and had been accepted to more than one Ivy league college.” He leaned to me and I swear his hazel eyes turned green.  “My plans went up in flames and I asked her out.”

“You left a few months later. Why?”

His eyes go dark as fast as they shimmered green and he turns his gaze to the view outside the window.

“Since she was ten Sara wanted to be a doctor. Everything she did was aimed at doing just that. If I stayed, I’d be in her way. I’d already committed six years to this job. I’d be gone more than I was home.

“I wasn’t what she needed. I wanted her to have the happiness she deserved.

“I left.”

He returns his gaze to me.

I was an ass. There was not a day go by I didn’t think of her.  Leaving her was the biggest mistake of my life and the only thing I ever regret doing.”

I look down at my notes to break his intense gaze.

“Three days after I found her again we were married.”

I smile, nod and think Sara Mahoney is the luckiest woman I know.

“I will stand by her forever.” He says softly.  “I will always love her.”

   

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