• In this Sept. 18, 2012, file photo, female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan.
• This Sept. 22, 1942, file photo shows aviatrix Nancy Harkness Love, director of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, and Col. Robert H. Baker, commanding officer, inspect the first contingent of women pilots in the WAFS at the New Castle Army Air Base, Del. Women serv...
• This June 4, 1943, file photo shows a wounded U.S. Marine being given a plasma transfusion by nurse Mae Olson aboard an aerial evacuation unit over Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
WASHINGTON—American women have served and died on the nation’s battlefields from the first. They were nurses and cooks, spies and couriers in the Revolutionary War. Some disguised themselves as men to fight for the Union or the Confederacy. Yet the U.S. military’s official accep...