Harriet Tubman’s legacy as a civil rights frontrunner has long been solidified. But Tubman was multi-faceted in her fight for freedom: Her roles as a Union spy, an unpaid soldier, and volunteer nurse make her a trailblazer in America’s military. The Underground Railroad more than showcased her exceptional ability to lead; it should be no wonder that she earned the nickname “General” during the Civil War from the soldiers.
Ensign Matice Wright is the Navy’s first black female naval flight officer. The United States Naval Academy graduate eventually became the Department of Defense’s Principal Director for Industrial Policy. In 2016, Wright returned to her alma mater when President Obama appointed her to the United States Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors.
Margaret E. Bailey, the United States Army’s first black colonel, started out as the first black nurse promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Army Nurse Corps.
A promotion to Chief of the Army Nurse Corps made Hazel W. Johnson the first black woman to become a general officer on September 1, 1979.
Col. Adele E. Hodges became the first black female commander when she commanded North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune. More than 47,000 sailors and Marines benefitted from her stellar leadership. Under her guidance, Camp Lejeune enjoyed improved security and new training management. Hodges went on to take a role in the Inspector General's Office at Marine Corps headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.