AUSA Redstone-Huntsville Chapter Coin Celebrates Women in Service

AUSA Redstone-Huntsville Chapter Coin Celebrates Women in Service

Publication Date
Monday, March 28, 2022

By Presley Price

Association of the United States Army Redstone-Huntsville Chapter Vice President, Digital Communications


Each year, the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army releases a chapter coin to commemorate the year. In years past, the chapter coins have celebrated the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, chapter accolades, and other major milestones. 

This year, the chapter coin was designed to celebrate women in service to our Nation’s Army. The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) was established in 1942 “for the purpose of making available to the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of women of the nation.” This year marks the 80th anniversary since the organization was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This era marked the first time in history that all branches of the military enlisted women in their ranks. ​

The coin features Pallas Athene, the WAAC symbol and Greek goddess of victory and womanly virtue. The front of the coin reads, “Celebrating Women in Service to Our Army Since 1942.”

The coin holds additional significance because the chapter is currently under the leadership of President Rhonda Sutton, the chapter’s third female president. Two other women have served as President of the Chapter, Kris McBride (2013-2015) and Emily Vandiver (2005-2007). Additionally, earlier this year during a Huntsville City Council meeting, Mayor Tommy Battle proclaimed 2022 as the “Year of the Girl.” Finally, on May 28, 2021 Christine Wormuth was sworn in as the 25th (and current) Secretary of the Army, the first woman to serve in the role. 

About WAAC

On May 16, 1942, Oveta Culp Hobby was sworn in as the first director of WAAC. She immediately began organizing the WAAC Training Center. More than 35,000 women from all over the country applied for less than 1,000 anticipated positions. Within one year of the WAAC establishment, more than 400 jobs were open to women. 

In January 1943, U.S. Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced identical bills in both houses of Congress to permit the enlistment and commissioning of women in the Army of the United States, or Reserve forces, as opposed to regular enlistments in the U.S. Army. This would drop the “auxiliary” status of the WAAC and allow women to serve overseas and “free a man to fight.” 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation on July 1, 1943, which changed the name of the Corps to the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and made it part of the Army of the United States. This gave women all of the rank, privileges, and benefits of their male counterparts.

As the history of women in the military clearly shows, female service members are a force to be reckoned with. AUSA Redstone-Huntsville salutes all women who have served our Nation throughout history.