The Civil War (1861-1865): A willingness to assume new roles
During the Civil War, women stepped into many nontraditional roles. Many women supported the army and navy war efforts as nurses and aides, while others took a more upfront approach and secretly enlisted in the army or served as spies and smugglers. Navy nurses saw their first shipboard service aboard Mayflower and Dolphin. Women were forced to adapt to the vast social changes affecting the nation, and their ability and willingness to assume these new roles helped shape the United States.
Military records reveal that women fought—and died—in all the major battles of the Civil War, participating in clashes in Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Shiloh, and Vicksburg, among many others.
The Spanish American War (1898-1901): The creation of the Army Nurse Corps
With the Spanish-American War came an epidemic of typhoid fever and a need for highly qualified Army nurses. The surgeon general requested and promptly received congressional authority on April 28, 1898. Due to the exemplary performance of these Army contract nurses, the U.S. military realized that it would be helpful to have a corps of trained nurses, familiar with military ways, on call. This led the Army to establish a permanent Nurse Corps in 1901.
World War I (1917-1918): Their service helped propel the passage of the 19th Amendment
At the time of the First World War, most women were barred from voting or serving in military combat roles. Many saw the war as an opportunity to not only serve their countries but to gain more rights and independence. With millions of men away from home, women filled manufacturing and agricultural positions on the home front. Others provided support on the front lines as nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, translators and, in rare cases, on the battlefield.
One observer wrote that American women "do anything they were given to do; that their hours are long; that their task is hard; that for them there is small hope of medals and citations and glittering homecoming parades.”
The Army Nurse Corps (ANC) was established in 1901 and was seventeen years old at the time the U.S. entered WWI on April 16, 1917. The Corps was small (403 nurses on active duty and 170 reserve nurses). At this same time, there were 8,000 nurses in the nursing service reserves of the American Red Cross.5
The first women to serve in the U.S. Navy were nurses, beginning with the "Sacred Twenty” appointed after Congress established the Navy Nurse Corps on 13 May 1908. The first large-scale enlistment of women into the Navy met clerical shortages during World War I, and the second came months before the United States entered World War II.
Despite thousands of new recruits, the U.S. Navy was short-handed at the beginning of World War I. Vague wording in a section of the Naval Act of 1916 outlining who could serve created a loophole: women were able to join the ranks as Yeomen, non-commissioned officers. Around 12,000 women enlisted in the Navy under the title, "Yeoman (F).” Most women Yeomen served stateside on naval bases, replacing men who had deployed to Europe. While many female recruits performed clerical duties, some worked as truck drivers, mechanics, radio operators, telephone operators, translators, camouflage artists and munition workers. They had the same responsibilities as their male counterparts and received the same pay of $28.75 per month.
Aiming to improve communications on the Western front between the Allied Forces, General John J. Pershing called for the creation of the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. The unit recruited women who were bilingual in French and English to serve as telephone switchboard operators on the Western front. The women received physical training, observed strict military protocol, wore identity discs and worked very close to the front lines. These female recruits were nicknamed the "Hello Girls” (a term which some of them felt disparaged their efforts) and became known for their bravery and focus under pressure. However, upon their return to the United States after the end of the war, the "Hello Girls” did not receive veteran status or benefits. It wasn’t until 1977, when President Jimmy Carter signed legislation, that the few surviving women telephone operators received recognition of their veteran status.
The U.S. Marine Corps enlisted 305 female Marine Reservists (F) to "free men to fight" by filling positions such as clerks and telephone operators on the home front.
In 1918 during the war, twin sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker transferred from the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve and became the first uniformed women to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. Before the war ended, several more women joined them, all of them serving in the Coast Guard at Coast Guard Headquarters. These women were demobilized when hostilities ceased, and aside from the Nurse Corps the uniformed military became once again exclusively male.
Women’s efforts and contributions in the Great War left a lasting legacy that inspired change across the nation. The service of these women helped propel the passage of the 19th Amendment, June 4, 1919, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
World War II (1939-1945): "To free a man to fight"
American women in World War II became involved in many tasks they rarely had before; as the war involved global conflict on an unprecedented scale, the absolute urgency of mobilizing the entire population made the expansion of the role of women inevitable. Their services were recruited through a variety of methods, including posters and other print advertising, as well as popular songs. Among the most iconic images were those depicting "Rosie the Riveter", a woman factory laborer performing what was previously considered man's work.
With this added skill base channeled to paid employment opportunities, the presence of women in the American workforce continued to expand from what had occurred during World War I. Many sought and secured jobs in the war industry, building ships, aircraft, vehicles, and munitions or other weaponry. Others drove trucks or provided other logistical support for soldiers. Still, others worked on farms. Women also enlisted in significantly greater numbers in the military and as nurses serving on the front lines.
American women also took part in assuming the defense of the home front. Apart from the number of women who served in the federal military, several women joined the various state guards, organized by individual U.S, states and partially supplied by the War Department, to replace the federally-deployed National Guard. In September 1942, the Idaho State Guard became the first state-level military organization in the United States to induct women into its command structure when Governor Chase A. Clark administered the oath of enlistment to a group of women from the Idaho volunteer auxiliary reserves.[ In Iowa, a unit composed solely of women and girls was organized in 1943 in Davenport and consisted of roughly 150 members who received training in infantry drill, equitation, first aid, radio code, self-defense, scouting, and patrolling from a captain in the Iowa State Guard
Following World War I, US Navy Yeoman (F) were disestablished and women only served as Navy Nurses. The necessity of women serving during World WAR II had long since been apparent. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Public Law 689 on July 30, 1942, establishing Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). In early August, Mildred McAfee became the Director of the WAVES and was sworn in as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander, becoming the first female commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.
Unlike the Yeoman (F) in World War I, the range of duties for women was greatly expanded to the aviation community, Judge Advocate General Corps, medical professions, communications, intelligence, science, and technology. Quickly working, recruitment was undertaken, training establishments had to be set up, and an administration structure had to be designed and uniforms created.
On February 26, 1944, the Navy Nurse Corps was designated full military rank by Public Law 238. Sue D. Dauser, the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps received a full commission in the rank of Captain, thereby becoming the first female in the Navy to hold that rank. In December 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade Harriet Ida Pickens and Ensign Francis Willis were commissioned as the first African American officers after graduating from the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School (WR) at Northampton, Massachusetts.
The Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) was a group of women pilots during World War II. Their main job was to take over male pilot's jobs, such as ferrying planes from factories to United States Army Air Force installations, in order to free male pilots to fight overseas. They later merged with the Women Airforce Ferrying Squadron (formerly the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) to form the Women Air Force Service Pilots
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) (also Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.
After the Coast Guard hired its first group of civilian women to serve in secretarial and clerical positions in 1941, it then established a Women's Reserve known as the SPARs (after the motto Semper Paratus - Always Ready) in 1942. YN3 Dorothy Tuttle became the first SPAR enlistee when she enlisted in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve on December 7, 1942. LCDR Dorothy Stratton transferred from the Navy to serve as the director of the SPARs. The first five African-American women entered the SPARs in 1945: Olivia Hooker, D. Winifred Byrd, Julia Mosley, Yvonne Cumberbatch, and Aileen Cooke. Also in 1945, SPAR Marjorie Bell Stewart was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal by CAPT Dorothy Stratton, becoming the first SPAR to receive the award. SPARs were assigned stateside and served as storekeepers, clerks, photographers, pharmacist's mates, cooks, and in numerous other jobs during World War II. More than 11,000 SPARs served during World War II.
The Army established the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942, a noteworthy year because WAACs served overseas in North Africa, and because Charity Adams Early also became the WAAC's first African-American female commissioned officer that year. The organization never accomplished its goal of making available to "the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of the women of the nation"; however, as a result, the WAAC was converted to the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943. Recognized as an official part of the regular army, more than 150,000 women served as WACs during the war with thousands were sent to the European and Pacific theaters. In 1944, WACs landed in Normandy after D-Day and served in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines in the Pacific. In 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (the only all African-American, all-female battalion during World War II) worked in England and France, making them the first black female battalion to travel overseas. Commanded by Major Early, the battalion was composed of 30 officers and 800 enlisted women. At the time, African-American recruitment was limited to 10 percent for the WAAC/WAC—matching the demographics of the U.S. population with a total of 6,520 African-American women enrolled for duty. Enlisted basic training was segregated for living, dining, and training, but while living quarters remained segregated at officer training and specialist schools, dining and training facilities there were integrated.
In 1942, Carmen Contreras-Bozak became the first Hispanic to join the WAAC, serving in Algiers under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was also the first of approximately 200 Puerto Rican women who would serve in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
The Women's Army Corps (WAC) also recruited 50 Japanese-American and Chinese-American women and sent them to the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling Minnesota, for training as military translators. Of these women, 21 were assigned to the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, where they worked with captured Japanese documents, extracting information about military plans, as well as political and economic information that impacted Japan's ability to conduct the war. Other WAC translators were assigned jobs helping the U.S. Army interface with the United States' Chinese allies. In 1943, the Women's Army Corps recruited a unit of Chinese-American women to serve with the Army Air Forces as "Air WACs". The Army lowered the height and weight requirements for the women of this particular unit referred to as the "Madame Chiang Kai-Shek Air WAC unit". The first two women to enlist in the unit were Hazel (Toy) Nakashima and Jit Wong, both of California. Air WACs served in a large variety of jobs, including aerial photo interpretation, air traffic control, and weather forecasting.] Susan Ahn Cuddy became the first Asian-American woman to join the U.S. Navy, in 1942. The Navy however, refused to accept Japanese American women throughout World War II.
In 1943, the Marine Corps created the Marine Corps Women's Reserve. The first female officer of the United States Marine Corps was also commissioned that year with the first female detachment of marines sent to duty in Hawaii in 1945. The first director of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve was Mrs. Ruth Cheney Streeter from Morristown, New Jersey Captain Anne Lentz was its first commissioned officer and Private Lucille McClarren its first enlisted woman. Both joined in 1943, as did Minnie Spotted-Wolf, the first Native American woman to enlist in the United States Marines. Many of these Marines served stateside as clerks, cooks, mechanics, and drivers, as well as in other positions. By the end of World War II, 85 percent of the enlisted personnel assigned to the Corps' U.S. headquarters were women.
During World War II, approximately 400,000 U.S. women served with the armed forces. As many as 543 died in war-related incidents, including 16 from enemy fire - even though U.S. political and military leaders had decided not to use women in combat because they feared public opinion. By 1948, however, women were finally recognized as a permanent part of the U.S. armed forces with the passage of the Women's Armed Service Act of 1948
A Permanent Presence (1945-1954): Gender and racial integration
The period immediately following World War II was one of uncertainty and constant change for Women. However, this post-war period also marked great strides for integrating both the WAC and the Army Nurse Corps into the Regular Army.
When the USAF was officially formed in 1947, a number of former Women's Army Corps members (WACs) continued serving in the Army but performed Air Force duties, as the Air Force did not admit women in its first year. Some WACs chose to transfer to the WAFs when it became possible.
At its inception in 1948, WAF was limited to 4,000 enlisted women and 300 female officers. Women were encouraged to fill many different roles but were not to be trained as pilots, even though the United States Army Air Corps had graduated their first class of female pilots in April 1943 under wartime conditions. The WAF directorship was to be filled by a non-pilot. All WAFs were assigned ground duties, most ending up in clerical and medical positions.
Women who were already pilots and who would have been good candidates for WAF leadership were instead diverted to the Air Force Reserves. For example, Nancy Harkness Love founder and commander of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and executive of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs), was awarded the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Reserves in 1948 after it was directed to admit women. Jacqueline Cochran who had volunteered in the RAF and had demonstrated solid leadership in greatly expanding the WASP program, was similarly directed to join the Reserves in 1948 within which she rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1969. Female pilots in the Reserves were classified as federal civilian employees, not active military personnel.
Korean War (1950-1953):
The reality was that during the Korean War, there were 120,000 women on active duty. A third of them were healthcare providers. Others stepped up when their country called on them, volunteering for service in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), Women in the Air Force (WAF), Navy Women’s Reserves and Women Marines.
Women’s presence in the armed forces became more culturally acceptable after Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948, just two years before the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. The act allowed women to serve as permanent members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force for the first time in American history. Air Force nurses played a crucial role in evacuating injured soldiers from battle zones in Korea, triaging their wounds and facilitating communications with loved ones back home.
Many women served in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH), on MEDEVAC aircraft, and on hospital ships. Others served in military hospitals in various parts of the United States. Countless women held down their households while their husbands went to war, or took the places of men in the workforce.
Profession and Poised (1955-1960): The Women continue to serve
After the Korean War, and with the move of the WAC Training Center and School to Fort McClellan, Alabama, the focus of the Corps shifted to the examination of management practices and the image of the WAC. The WAC directors in the 1950s and 1960s sought to expand WAC by increasing the types of jobs available in the Army, and by promoting the Corps not only to possible recruits, but also to their family members. The leadership worked hard to act as role models and to instruct the women to respect the Corps, take pride in their work, and ensure that their personal behavior and appearance was always above reproach. Their success was marked by a request from the Army chief of staff to lift the recruitment ceiling on the number of women. It was also during this era that we see the removal of restrictions on promotions, assignments, and utilization.
The Vietnam War (1955-1975):
Though relatively little official data exists about female Viet Nam veterans, the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation estimates that approximately 11,000 military women were stationed in Vietnam during the conflict. Nearly all of them were volunteers, and 90 percent served as military nurses, though women also worked as physicians, air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, clerks and other positions in the U.S. Women's Army Corps, U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marines and the Army Medical Specialist Corps. In addition to women in the armed forces, an unknown number of civilian women served in Vietnam on behalf of the Red Cross, United Service Organizations (USO), Catholic Relief Services and other humanitarian organizations, or as foreign correspondents for various news organizations.
In addition to the U.S. military women who served in Vietnam, an unknown number of female civilians willingly gave their services on Vietnamese soil during the conflict. Many of them worked on behalf of the American Red Cross, Army Special Services, United Service Organizations (USO), Peace Corps, and various religious groups such as Catholic Relief Services.
Other American women traveled to Vietnam as foreign correspondents for news organizations, including Georgette "Dickey" Chappelle, a writer for the National Observer who was killed by a mine while on patrol with U.S. Marines outside Chu Lai in November 1965. According to the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation, 59 female civilians died during the conflict.
A Time of Change (1970-1978): Moving forward to equality
The Vietnam War, the elimination of the draft, and the rise of the feminist movement had a major impact on both the Women's Army Corps and Army Nurse Corps. There was a renewed emphasis on parity and increased opportunity for women in uniform.
The Gulf Wat (1991): Desert Shield and Desert Storm
The Gulf War] was a war waged by coalition Forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production disputes. It was codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) in its combat phase
Women played a vital role in the theater of operations. By late February, more than 37,000 military women were in the Persian Gulf, making up approximately 6.8 percent of US forces. By Service, there were approximately 26,000 Army, 3,700 Navy, 2,200 Marine, and 5,300 Air Force (USAF) women deployed
Bosnian War (1992-1995)
The breakup of Yugoslavia occurred as a result of a series of political upheavals and conflicts during the early 1990s. After a period of political and economic crisis in the 1980s, constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia split apart, but the unresolved issues caused bitter inter-ethnic Yugoslav wars. The wars primarily affected Bosnia and Herzegonvina neighboring parts of Croatia and, some years later, Kosovo
The Bosnian War (Serbo-Croatian) was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The war is commonly seen as having started on 6 April 1992, following a number of earlier violent incidents. The war ended on 14 December 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of Herzeg-Bosnia and Republica Srpska, proto-states led and supplied by Croatia and Serbia, respectively.
As a member of NATO, the United States was part of its intervention efforts in the Bosnian War, which grew in scope as the war raged on. In 1994, NATO launched multiple air strikes on the Serbs . Tensions rose when the Serbs used a surface-to-air missile to shoot down an American pilot, who was later rescued. Participation by female US military personnel Is unknow
War in Afghanistan (2001-present): Female soldiers would now officially accompany the Rangers on target. Ideology be damned.
The War in Afghanistan is an ongoing war following the United States invasion off Afghanistan that began when the United States of America and its allies successfully drove the Taliban from power in order to deny Al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. Since the initial objectives were completed, a coalition of over 40 countries (including all NATO members) formed a security mission in the country called International Security Force (ISAF, succeeded by the Resolute Support Mission (RSP) in 2014), of which certain members were involved in military combat allied with Afghanistan's government. The war has afterward mostly consisted of Taliban insurgents fighting against the Afghan Armed Forces and allied forces; the majority of ISAF/RS soldiers and personnel are American. The war is code-named by the U.S. as Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14) and Operation Enduring Freedom(2015–present); it is the longest war in U.S. history.
In 2010 the U.S. Army Special Operations Command created a pilot program to put women on the battlefield in Afghanistan. From the start of the war, U.S. Special Operations Commander Eric Olson believed that America was never going to kill its way to victory in Afghanistan.
What Admiral Olson was coming to understand was that from a strategic point of view, not having access to Afghan women meant that U.S. soldiers were entirely blind to half the country’s population, and all the information and social influence it held. Even more: whatever may have been hidden in the women’s quarters — everything from enemy combatants to weapons and nuggets of critical intelligence — would remain unfound. This reality signaled a dangerous security gap, for no soldier had ever truly cleared a house when even a single room went unchecked.
The only question that remained was: could the military actually do anything about it?
Since 1948 women’s military service had been governed by the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. Among other limits, women were barred from serving aboard any navy ship other than hospitals and transports and from aircraft that could have a combat mission. No mention was made back then of women in ground combat. By the 1980s things were slowly changing: women formed part of non-combat air crews and served aboard some Navy ships. More roles opened up after more than 40,000 servicewomen deployed in 1990 and 1991 as part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. By the mid-1990s women could serve in aviation and naval combat. But assignment to units "whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground” remained off-limits for women.
Around headquarters Olson began to raise the issue of getting women into battle roles to support special operations teams, and again and again he met with the same, unenthusiastic reception. Olson understood the limits of his power, for while the role of SOCOM commander carried a great deal of clout, in actual fact he was a "force provider,” not the commander of all Special Operations Forces operating around the world. This made him effectively the CEO of Special Operations Inc. with a mission to provide a product — readiness, options, and capabilities — that commanders on the ground could choose to use. Or not. Olson couldn’t make commanders use these teams; he could only imagine and then develop the ideas so they would be there if and when they were wanted.
Officials around SOCOM listened politely enough to Olson’s idea, then they slow-rolled him. Most gave him the clear impression they couldn’t wait for his time as commander to end so he could take his idea about these new all-female teams with him.
By April 2010, however, the landscape changed. A new wave of U.S. troops was entering Afghanistan as part of a force surge announced the previous December, and the fight against the insurgency was accelerating. Olson’s idea was about to get a second chance, and from a most unlikely source, a group of the Army’s most grizzled infantry fighters: the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the night-raiding special operations ground-pounders whose history dates back to colonial times.
That month, Admiral William McRaven, the highly regarded head of the Joint Special Operations Command, submitted a formal request to Olson at SOCOM that women soldiers be made available to join the Rangers on missions. It was based on a radical premise from a forward-thinking leader: that women enablers could make Ranger missions more successful. The idea was that the best female soldiers in the Army would join the 75th Ranger Regiment’s elite strike forces as they went out on nightly direct action raids to get terrorists and insurgents. Female soldiers would now officially accompany the Rangers on target. Ideology be damned.
They would see the kind of combat missions experienced by less than five percent of the entire U.S. military; these were some of the most vital — and most dangerous — operations America was then undertaking. And they would be on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, on the helicopter each evening, marching in the dead of night to the home of a suspected insurgent, talking with women, keeping them away from an operation happening elsewhere in the compound and seeking to learn vital information that could save Afghan and American lives.
When McRaven’s official Request for Forces landed on his desk, Olson viewed it as an immediate call to action. This was no longer about his ideas of the "yin and yang of warfare,” Olson told the men who worked for him: this was a hard requirement from a JSOC commander in the field. And everyone knew that what JSOC requested, JSOC received. Olson immediately began putting the wheels in motion, beginning with a request to the Army Special Operations Command to start training the new teams of female soldiers at its Fort Bragg headquarters. Olson divided the teams into two groups: the "direct action” side would go with counterterrorism-focused units, alongside the Rangers. The second group would accompany the more "indirect action” teams out in the hinterland where Green Berets forged relationships with local people and their leaders. These women would be part of VSOs, or Village Stability Operations.
In the meantime, Olson consulted his lawyers about the ban on women in ground combat and learned that as long as he "attached” rather than "assigned” women to these special operations units, he could put them almost anywhere. Including on missions with Rangers.
Finally there was the issue of the team’s name. Everyone agreed that the word female should be avoided, since that would make acceptance all the harder among the all-male units. Since the concept of teamwork was so fundamental to special operations and its distinctive sense of community, they all agreed that it should be a "team.” Another carefully selected word would help blunt the argument of those who thought the program was just a backdoor way for women to become frontline operators: support. Finally, they needed a term that would express the idea that these American female soldiers would make inroads into Afghanistan’s social fabric to reach places and people that men couldn’t: The Cultural Support Teams were born.
Global War on Terrorism: (2001 - present)
The War on Terror, also known as the Global War on Terrorism and U.S. War on Terror, is an ongoing international military campaign launched by the United States government following the September 11 attacks, The targets of the campaign are primarily Sunni Islamic fundamentalists, armed groups located throughout the Muslim world, with the most prominent groups being Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, the Taliban, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and the various franchise groups of the former two organizations. The naming of the campaign uses a metaphor of war to refer to a variety of actions that do not constitute a specific war as traditionally defined. U.S. president George W. Bush first used the term "war on terrorism" on 16 September 2001, and then "war on terror" a few days later in a formal speech to Congress. In the latter speech, George Bush stated, "Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them. "The term was originally used with a particular focus on countries associated with al-Qaeda. The term was immediately criticised by such people as Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and more nuanced terms subsequently came to be used by the Bush administration to publicly define the international campaign led by the U.S. While it was never used as a formal designation of U.S. operations in internal government documentation, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal was issued.
U.S. President Barak Obama announced on 23 May 2013 that the Global War on Terror was over, saying the military and intelligence agencies will not wage war against a tactic but will instead focus on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the U.S. On 28 December 2014, the Obama administration announced the end of the combat role of the U.S,-led mission in Afghanistan] However, the U.S. continued to play a major role in the War in Afghanistan, and in 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump expanded the American military presence in Afghanistan. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) led to the global Operation Inherent Resolve, and an international campaign to destroy ISIL (see below).
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States -led that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 1,33,000 Iraqis were killed in the first three to five years of conflict. US troops were officially withdrawn in 2011. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of the George W. Bush administration's War on Terror following the September 11 attacks despite no connection of the latter to Iraq.
Approximately one in every seven troops in Iraq was a woman. Approximately 4,500 troops have died in this war.
Operation Inherent Resolve (2014 - present):