Kathleen Byerly

Last updated

Kathleen M. Bruyere
CAPT Kathleen M. Byerly, USN.jpeg
Bruyere as a commander
Birth nameKathleen Mae Donahue
Other name(s)Kathleen Mae Byerly
Born(1944-02-05)5 February 1944
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Died3 September 2020(2020-09-03) (aged 76)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch US Department of the Navy patch.png United States Navy
Years of service1966–1994
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Captain

Kathleen Mae Bruyere (née Donahue, previously Byerly; 5 February 1944 3 September 2020) was a captain in the United States Navy. She was one of the twelve women named by Time magazine as Time Person of the Year in 1975, representing American women (at the height of the feminist movement). In May 1975, she became the first female officer in the Navy to serve as the flag secretary to an admiral commanding an operational staff. In 1977, Byerly was one of six officers who sued the United States Secretary of the Navy and the United States Secretary of Defense over their being restricted from serving on combat aircraft and ships. This led to the 1948 Women's Armed Services Integration Act being struck down as unconstitutional.

Contents

Early life

Kathleen Mae Donahue was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on 5 February 1944, [1] the oldest of six children of Joseph Donahue, an Army officer, and his wife Lucille née Alessandroni. She had four brothers: Joseph, Paul, Timothy and Matthew, and a sister, Lucia. The family moved frequently as her father moved from assignment to assignment in the United States, Germany and Greece. She attended Trenton Catholic High School while her father was stationed at Fort Dix, but completed her high school education in Germany. She entered Chestnut Hill College, from which she graduated in 1966. [2]

Following graduation, she joined the United States Navy. In 1968, she married Kellie Byerly, a fellow naval officer. Most women resigned on getting married, but she defied the convention of the time and remained on active duty. [2] In May 1975, she held the rank of lieutenant commander, and was a Navy executive and aide to Rear Admiral Allen E. Hill. She was the first female officer in the Navy to serve as the flag secretary to an admiral commanding an operational staff. [3] [4] Byerly was one of the twelve women named by Time magazine as Time Person of the Year for 1975, [5] [6] and featured on the cover. [7] While WAVES had served on flag officers' staffs before, her role was far more important. She headed the admiral's staff, and had the responsibility for dealing with the nine Pacific training commands. [4]

In 1977, Byerly was one of six officers who sued the United States Secretary of the Navy and the United States Secretary of Defense, arguing that their prospects for promotion had been unfairly limited by their inability to go to sea on ships. [7] Under the 1948, Women's Armed Services Integration Act, the service secretaries had the right to discharge women without cause, and women were restricted from flying combat aircraft or serving on ships that might one day have to engage in combat. One of her fellow plaintiffs, a pilot, was told that she could deliver supplies to a ship, but not land on it. [8] In 1978, United States District Judge John Sirica ruled that the law was unconstitutional, clearing the way for women to serve. [7] The ruling opened up 9,000 jobs at sea to women. [2] Perhaps as importantly, it gave women the opportunity to command ships. [8]

Byerly did not get to serve on a warship, but she was eventually promoted to captain. [8] She became the special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations for women's policy, and helped prepare a 1987 study on sexism and career opportunities for women in the Navy. The following year she became the New York Recruiting District's first ever female executive officer. While there she met Thomas Bruyere, another fellow naval officer. She divorced her first husband and married Bruyere in 1988. Through her second marriage, she acquired three stepsons. [7] [2] In June 1991, she assumed command of the Orlando Naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida. It had been criticized for the manner in which it had handled allegations of rape and sexual harassment, and it was slated for closure. Under her command, training of its 30,000 enlistees a year was integrated. [7] [8]

Later life

Bruyere retired from the Navy in 1994 and moved to Chula Vista, California. She cared for her husband, who had Parkinson's disease, until his death in 2009. [2] She was on the boards of the local chapters of the Parkinson's Association, the Alzheimer's Association, the George G. Glenner Center for Memory Care and Caregiver Support, and the Military Officers Association of America. [7] She died from cancer in Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego on 3 September 2020. Her remains were interred in Miramar National Cemetery, [2] where she had worked for many years as a volunteer. [9]

Related Research Articles

Stephen Clegg Rowan United States Navy admiral

Stephen Clegg Rowan was a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy, who served during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War.

USS <i>Cowpens</i> (CG-63) Ticonderoga-class cruiser

USS Cowpens (CG-63) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser in service with the United States Navy. The ship is named after the Battle of Cowpens, a major American victory near Cowpens, South Carolina, in the American Revolution. She was built at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. Cowpens is stationed at Naval Base San Diego.

Joseph M. Reeves American four-star Admiral

Joseph Mason "Bull" Reeves was an admiral in the United States Navy and an early and important supporter of U.S. Naval Aviation. Though a battleship officer during his early career, he became known as the "Father of Carrier Aviation" for his role in integrating aircraft carriers into the Fleet as a major part of the Navy's attack capabilities.

USS <i>Halsey</i> (DLG-23) Leahy-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy

The first USS Halsey, a Leahy-class guided missile cruiser was a ship of the United States Navy named in honor of Fleet Admiral William Halsey. Originally called a destroyer leader or frigate (DLG-23), on 30 June 1975 she was redesignated a cruiser (CG-23) in the U.S. Navy's ship reclassification.

Kathleen Anne McGrath was the first woman to command a United States Navy warship.

Eleanor Mariano United States admiral and Physician to the President

Eleanor Concepcion "Connie" Mariano, is a Filipina American physician and retired flag officer in the United States Navy. She is the first Filipino American and graduate of the Uniformed Services University of Medicine to reach the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy as well as the first woman to become the director of the White House Medical Unit.

Michelle Howard US Navy admiral

Michelle Janine Howard is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who last served as the commander of United States Naval Forces Europe while she concurrently served as the commander of United States Naval Forces Africa and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples. She previously served as the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations. She assumed her last assignment on June 7, 2016.

Deborah Loewer United States admiral

Deborah A. Loewer was the first warfare qualified woman promoted to flag rank in the United States Navy. She was frocked to the rank of rear admiral on October 1, 2003 and retired in 2007.

Women in the United States Navy organization

Many women have served in the United States Navy for over a century. Today, there are over 52,391 women serving on active duty in an array of traditional and non-traditional ratings or careers. Like their male counterparts, female sailors are expected to adhere to regulations specific to appearance, grooming, and health and fitness; however some differences exist for example in physical fitness tests due to performance and in relation to pregnancy and parenting provisions created to help support military families.

Richard H. Jackson United States admiral

Richard Harrison Jackson was a four-star admiral in the United States Navy. Originally cashiered from the Navy for poor grades at the U.S. Naval Academy, he was commissioned ensign by special act of Congress for his heroism during the 1889 Apia cyclone. He served as commander in chief of the Battle Fleet in 1926 and lived to be 105 years old.

James E. McPherson Acting United States Secretary of the Navy

James Edwin McPherson is an American government official and retired United States Navy rear admiral. He has served as the Acting United States Under Secretary of the Army since July 23, 2019, and was sworn into the position full-time on March 25, 2020 following confirmation by the Senate. He concurrently served as the General Counsel of the Army from 2018 to 2020. He was designated as Acting United States Secretary of the Navy on April 7, 2020, following the resignation of Thomas Modly.

Roberta L. Hazard United States admiral

Rear Admiral Roberta L. Hazard was the third female line officer to be promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, and at the time, the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. military. She was the first woman to command a United States Naval Training Command.

Kathleen L. Martin United States admiral

Rear Admiral Kathleen L. Martin served as Deputy Surgeon General of the Navy/Vice Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery from October 2002 until her retirement in September 2005. She also held the position as the 19th Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from August 1998 to August 2001. She serves on the board of directors for Caliburn International, a military contracting conglomerate that also oversees operations of Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children.

Hispanics in the United States Navy can trace their tradition of naval military service to men such as Lieutenant Jordi Farragut Mesquida, who served in the American Revolution. Hispanics, such as Seaman Philip Bazaar and Seaman John Ortega, have distinguished themselves in combat and have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration of the United States. Hispanics have also reached the top ranks of the navy, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign shores. Among those who have reached the highest ranks in the navy are Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, of Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish descent, who participated in the War of 1812 as an assistant Sailing master; Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, for whom the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy was created during the American Civil War; and Admiral Horacio Rivero, who led the navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Marsha J. Evans United States admiral

Marsha Johnson "Marty" Evans is a retired rear admiral in the United States Navy. Following her retirement from the Navy, she served as executive director of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 1998 to 2002, and president and CEO of the American Red Cross from 2002 to 2005.

Holly Graf US Navy officer

Holly Ann Graf is a retired United States Navy officer. Until January 2010 she was commanding officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG-63), a major surface combatant vessel of the fleet. She was the first woman to command a cruiser in the history of the U.S. Navy. Earlier, she had been the first woman in the U.S. Navy to command a destroyer when she served as skipper of the guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81). Her personal decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star, among others. Graf was relieved of command for abusive behavior unbecoming of an officer and was featured in Time magazine that characterized her as a modern-day female "Captain Bligh". The U.S. Navy forced Graf into early retirement in 2012, but allowed her to do so at her current rank of captain and under "honorable circumstances".

Nora W. Tyson admiral

Nora Wingfield Tyson is a retired United States Navy vice admiral. In 2015, she was installed as commander of the Third Fleet, making her the first woman to lead a United States Navy ship fleet. She retired from service in 2017. Tyson previously served as the commander of Carrier Strike Group Two, from July 29, 2010 to January 12, 2012; she was the first female commander of a United States Navy Carrier Strike Group. She then served as Vice Director of the Joint Staff beginning in February 2012. In July 2013 she was promoted to vice admiral and named as Deputy Commander, United States Fleet Forces Command.

For non-U.S. military related information, please see Women in warfare and the military (1945–1999)

Bernard F. Roeder

Bernard Franklin Roeder was a decorated officer in the United States Navy with the rank of vice admiral, who held many important assignments, including commander in chief of United States First Fleet and Director of Naval Communications. He also served as first director of the Naval Security Group.

Brett Crozier United States Navy officer

Brett Elliott Crozier is a captain in the United States Navy. A United States Naval Academy graduate, he became a naval aviator, first flying helicopters and then switching to fighters. After completing the naval nuclear training program he served as an officer on multiple aircraft carriers. In spring 2020 he was commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt when the coronavirus disease broke out among the crew. He was relieved of command by then-acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly after sending a letter to Navy leaders asking that most of the crew be taken ashore which was subsequently leaked to the press. Crozier himself was later diagnosed with the disease.

References

  1. "Capt. Bruyere (1944 - 2020) - Obituary". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hanna, Maddie (11 September 2020). "Navy captain Kathleen Bruyere, who won the right for women to serve at sea, has died". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 12 September 2020 via Task & Purpose.
  3. Ebbert, Jean; Hall, Marie-Beth (1993). Crossed currents: Navy women from WWI to Tailhook. Potomac Books. p. 221. ISBN   978-0-02-881022-5.
  4. 1 2 Sutton, Carol (5 January 1976). "National Affairs: A Dozen Who Made a Difference". Time. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  5. "Women of the Year: Great Changes, New Chances, Tough Choices". Time. 3 January 1976. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  6. "12 Women Of The Year Named By Time Magazine". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 29 December 1975. p. 14. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Correll, Diana Stancy (11 September 2020). "Retired Navy captain and trailblazer for women's equality in the service dies at 76". Navy Times. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Shaffner, Holly (March 2020). "Trailblazer". San Diego Veterans. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  9. "Honoring those who honor the fallen all year round". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 12 September 2020.