Women in U.S. military service through the years

Women 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 acceptance of women in combat took more than two centuries. New roles for females were doled out fitfully — whenever commanders got in a bind and realized they needed women's help. A look at milestones on the way to lifting the ban on women in ground combat.

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