Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Loretta Perfectus Walsh becomes the first female sailor in the United States Navy

Loretta Perfectus Walsh joined the U.S. Navy, something that only became a legal possibility two days prior when first authorized by the Secretary of the Navy.  She joined at the rank of Chief Yeoman.

 Navy recruiting poster aimed specifically at women.

The 20 year old Walsh served throughout the war but was one of the millions of people around the world who fell victim to the 1918 flu epidemic.  Like many of those individuals, including a great aunt of mine, she was amongst those who survived the flu itself but who was left with such impaired health as a result that she ultimately died as a result of it several years later.  In her case, she died in 1925 at the age of 29.  Her service in the Navy technically ran until 1921, on a four year enlistment, but the female yeoman had been released from active service after the conclusion of World War One.

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