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Women In Service

All female Air Force crew flew a KC 30A on March 7 to mark International Women s Day

An all-female Air Force crew flew a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport for the first time on March 7 to mark International Women’s Day.
The flight, from RAAF Base Amberley to Perth, was staffed by female pilots, attendants and technicians, and a female team of Air Force air traffic controllers directed their journey.

The role of women in the Australian military began to change in the 1970s. In 1975, which was the International Year of Women, the service chiefs established a committee to explore opportunities for increased female participation in the military. This led to reforms which allowed women to deploy on active service in support roles, pregnancy no longer being grounds for automatic termination of employment and changes to leave provisions. The WRAAF and WAAC were abolished in 1977 and 1979 respectively, with female soldiers being merged into the services. Equal pay was granted to servicewomen in 1979 and the WRANS was abolished in 1985.


Five enlisted women and a female officer in the Air Force WAF arrive at Tan Son Nhut Air Base South Vietnam June 1967



Photo: Five enlisted women and a female officer in the Air Force (WAF) arrive at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam. June, 1967.

The women (left to right) are: Lt Col June H. Hilton, A1Cs Carol J. Hornick and Rita M. Pitcock, SSgt Barbara J. Snavely and A1Cs Shirley J. Brown and Eva M. Nordstrom.

Thousands of US women took part in the Vietnam War, mostly in support services and most went as volunteers. They participated as air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, weather monitors, clerks, medical support, communications and many other roles, but around 90% served as nurses.





Vietnam 1967 first group of Australian Army nurses


The first group of Australian Army Nurses to arrive in Vietnam in May 1967 were from the 8th Field Ambulance.
From left to right, Lieutenant Colleen Mealy, Lieutenant Margaret Ahern, Captain Amy Pittendreigh and Lieutenant Terri Roche.

For the next four years, 43 RAANC nurses served in Vung Tau, in groups of six to ten.