Elizabeth P. Hoisington

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Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington
Brigadier General Elizabeth P. Hoisington.jpg
Hoisington as a brigadier general and Director of the Women's Army Corps, circa 1970
Born(1918-11-03)November 3, 1918
Newton, Kansas
DiedAugust 21, 2007(2007-08-21) (aged 88)
Springfield, Virginia
AllegianceFlag of the United States (Pantone).svg United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army (official proportions).svg  United States Army
Years of service1942–1971
Rank US Army O7 shoulderboard rotated.svg Brigadier general
Commands held WomensArmyCorpBC.gif Women's Army Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star
Relations Colonel Perry M. Hoisington (grandfather)
Colonel Gregory Hoisington (father)
Major General Perry M. Hoisington II (brother)

Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington (November 3, 1918 August 21, 2007) was a United States Army officer who was one of the first two women to attain the rank of brigadier general.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Brigadier general (United States) one-star general officer in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps

In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.



Born in Newton, Kansas, on November 3, 1918, Elizabeth Hoisington was a 1940 graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. [1]

Newton, Kansas City and County seat in Kansas, United States

Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located 25 miles (40 km) north of Wichita. The city of North Newton is located immediately north, existing as a separate political entity.

During World War II the United States Army expanded opportunities for women beyond nursing by creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). [2]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Womens Army Corps was the womens branch of the United States Army

The Women's Army Corps (WAC) was the women's branch of the United States Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on 15 May 1942 by Public Law 554, and converted to an active duty status in the Army of the United States as the WAC on 1 July 1943. Its first director was Oveta Culp Hobby, a prominent woman in Texas society. The WAC was disbanded in 1978, and all units were integrated with male units.

Hoisington enlisted in the WAACs in November 1942 and completed her basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. At the time, women were required to serve in units before they could apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS), so Private Hoisington went to a WAAC aircraft early warning unit in Bangor, Maine. [3]

Fort Des Moines Provisional Army Officer Training School

The Fort Des Moines Provisional Army Officer Training School was a military base and training facility on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa. Established in 1901, the base is notable as the place where African Americans were trained to be officers for the U.S. Army during World War I, and where women first began training for US Army service in 1942 as part of the Women's Army Corps. Surviving older portions of the base were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 in recognition of this history. The fort property was turned over to the city in the 1950s, and has since been put a number of public and private uses.

Iowa State of the United States of America

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.

Bangor, Maine City in Maine, United States

Bangor is a city in the U.S. state of Maine, and the county seat of Penobscot County. The city proper has a population of 33,039, making it the state's 3rd largest settlement behind Portland (66,882) and Lewiston (36,221).

The company commander recognized her talents and made her the first sergeant soon after her arrival.

First sergeant is typically a senior non-commissioned officer rank, used in many countries. In NATO armed forces the rank is on OR8 level.

From Private to First Sergeant, that was my greatest promotion in the Army. ~General Hoisington

She later said that she then sought out the most grizzled male first sergeant she could find and asked him to teach her what she needed to know. She said that he did such a good job that when she reached OCS she never had to open a book. [4]

Hoisington was commissioned in May, 1943, as a WAAC third officer. When the auxiliary became the Women's Army Corps (WAC) a month later, its officers changed to standard Army ranks, and Hoisington became a second lieutenant. She deployed to Europe, serving in France after D-Day. Hoisington continued her career after World War II and advanced through the ranks to colonel as she commanded WAC units in Japan, Germany, and France and served in staff assignments in San Francisco and at the Pentagon. [5] [6]

She was appointed the seventh director of the Women's Army Corps on August 1, 1965, [7] and served from 1966 to 1971. As director during the Vietnam War she visited WACs serving in Saigon and Long Binh in September, 1967. According to some sources, Hoisington discouraged sending Army women to Vietnam because she believed the controversy would deter progress in expanding the overall role of women in the Army. [8]

On May 15, 1970, President Nixon announced the first women selected for promotion to brigadier general: Anna Mae Hays, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Hoisington. [9] The two women were promoted on June 11. [10] Hays and Hoisington were promoted within minutes of each other. [11] Because they were promoted in alphabetical order, Hays was the first woman in the United States Armed Forces to wear the insignia of a brigadier general.

The Hoisington and Hays promotions resulted in positive public relations for the Army, including appearances on the Dick Cavett, David Frost and Today shows. Hoisington, who was noted for her quick smile and ebullient personality, also appeared as a mystery guest on the popular game show What's My Line? [12] [13]

Hoisington retired on August 1, 1971. [14]


Her grandfather, Colonel Perry Milo Hoisington I, helped to organize the Kansas National Guard. Her father, Gregory Hoisington, was a graduate of West Point and a colonel in the Army. He was a direct descendant of Ebenezer Hoisington, a founder of the state of Vermont and a soldier in the American Revolution. [15]

Her brother, Perry Hoisington II, was a United States Air Force general. Elizabeth Hoisington’s 1970 promotion made them the first brother and sister generals in the United States military. [16]

She was survived by a younger brother, Robert, and a sister, Nancy (d. 2012). [17] [18] [19]

Death and burial

Hoisington died in Springfield, Virginia, on August 21, 2007, at the age of 88. She is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 6, Site 9239-B. [20]


Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Women's Army Corps Service Medal ribbon.svg
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
1 golden star.svg
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ Oak Leaf Cluster
2nd Row Bronze Star Medal Army Commendation Medal Women's Army Corps Service Medal
3rd Row American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ one service star World War II Victory Medal
4th Row Army of Occupation Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France) w/ Star

See also

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  1. Evelyn Monahan, Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, A Few Good Women, 2010, page 29
  2. M. Michaela Hampf, Release a Man for Combat: The Women's Army Corps During World War II, 2010, page 31
  3. Association of the United States Army, Army magazine, Volume 24, 1974, page 22
  4. Association of the United States Army, Brig. Gen. Elizabeth P. Hoisington Dies Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine , August 23, 2007
  5. Debbie Elliott, Pioneer Soldier: Brig. Gen. Elizabeth Hoisington, August 26, 2007
  6. Bettie J. Morden, Center of Military History, The Women's Army Corps, 1945–1978, 1990, page 217
  7. Associated Press, New WAC Head Acts Like Recruit, The Tuscaloosa News, June 26, 1966
  8. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers, 2008, page 34
  9. Associated Press, Nixon Nominates Women to Wear Stars, May 16, 1970
  10. Robert A. Dobkin, Associated Press, "2 Women Generals Win Stars", Schenectady Gazette, June 12, 1970
  11. Associated Press, "2 Women Become Generals", The Spokane Spokesman-Review, June 12, 1970
  12. Matt Schudel, Pioneering Brig. Gen. Elizabeth P. Hoisington, August 24, 2007
  13. What's My Line, featuring Elizabeth P. Hoisington on YouTube
  14. The New York Times, 1st Woman General Hailed On Retirement From Army, August 1, 1971
  15. Frances Spatz Leighton, 'Work' is Motto of Army's Newest Stars, Pittsburgh Press-Gazette, July 8, 1970
  16. Washington Post, Obituary, Air Force Gen. Perry M. Hoisington II, May 3, 2006
  17. Los Angeles Times, Obituaries; Elizabeth P. Hoisington, 88; Pioneering Brigadier General Led the Women's Army Corps, September 3, 2007
  18. McCardle, Dorothy (August 4, 1966). "New Director Named for WAC" . Arizona Republic. Phoenix, AZ. Washington Post. p. 68 via Newspapers.com.
  19. "Obituary, Nancy Hoisington Smith". Washington Post. Washington, DC. July 25, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2018 via Legacy.com.
  20. Elizabeth P. Hoisington at Find A Grave

Primary sources

An obituary in the Washington Post dated November 4, 2007, lists four siblings: Major General Perry M. Hoisington, USAF (Ret.), Lt Col Robert H. Hoisington, USA (Ret.), Mary Jo Maertens and Nancy H. Smith; 18 nieces and nephews, numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.

Additional sources