Anna Mae Hays passes

| January 9, 2018 | 22 Comments

Today we get the sad news that Anna Mae Hays, the first female General of the US Army, has passed at the age of 97. She was promoted to the rank in 1970 when she became the chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps after service in the Second World War, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Her service in the World War was spent treating soldiers in India. From Wiki;

In May 1942 she joined the Army Nurse Corps, and was sent to India in January 1943, to the town of Ledo in Assam. The living and working conditions were somewhat primitive; the buildings were made of bamboo, and dysentery, leeches and snakes were common, particularly during monsoon seasons. Just over two years later, in April 1945, she was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.

After serving two and a half years in India, Hays was on leave in the United States when the war ended

She stayed in the Nurse Corps, stationed at Fort Dix, NJ, until the Korean War broke out and she was sent to Inchon in 1950. After the war, she was appointed to be one of President Eisenhower’s private nurses. She was also assigned as the head nurse of Walter Reed’s emergency room. Hays made several trips to the Vietnam War to help with the combat nurse program there based on her experience in the previous wars.

From Stars & Stripes;

Gen. Hays resisted a close association with feminism – “Let’s not talk about this,” she told the New York Times in 1970, when asked about the burgeoning women’s liberation movement. But she nonetheless became a symbol of unprecedented female advancement on June 11, 1970, when she was promoted to the one-star rank of brigadier general.

Her husband passed in 1962 and she leaves no surviving immediate family.

Category: We Remember

Comments (22)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Godspeed, General. Rest in peace.

  2. Dinotanker says:

    Rest in Peace General Hays.

    Wow, what a career, and a true soldier. How the hell long did it take to make 1LT back in WW II? Anyone help me out here? How long does it take to make 1LT today?

    If I remember correctly being a USAR officer it took me about twice as long to make the next grade than the RA guys.

    • Hondo says:

      Since ROPMA became law in 1980, promotion from for 2LT-to-1LT in the Army has been generally an admin action with the amount of time required determined by the needs of the Army. If I recall correctly, that period has varied between roughly 18 and 24 months.

      Rules for RC officers (the vast majority of which are not serving on active duty) are somewhat different. They’re governed by ROPMA, a different Federal law that was passed and became effective in the mid-1990s. It was designed to broadly mirror DOPMA in it’s promotion policies – in particular, RC board actions now govern promotion to CPT and above and are based on “best qualified” vice the former “fully” qualified” criteria. There are also “hard and fast” educational requirements for RC promotion.

      • Devtun says:

        Sorry Hondo, looks like you had this handled.

        • Hondo says:

          De nada, amigo. Dual answers are an occasional part of any online discussion. (smile)

          You’re essentially correct about both O1-to-O2 and O2-to-O3 being automatic. The latter (O2-to-O3 promotion) does require a promo board under both DOPMA and ROPMA. I’m pretty sure O1-to-O2 promotions are now admin advances under both DOPMA and ROPMA. In either case, there has to be a serious bit of derogatory info about the individual to prevent promotion – I believe the select rate to CPT in the Army has historically been 90+%, and around 98% or higher for promotion to 1LT. However, I’ve seen individuals who didn’t get selected for both 1LT and CPT, so it can indeed happen.

          For anyone curious in the ROPMA side, I found this after I posted my original. It provides a few details of how ROPMA affects RC unit members in the grades of O1 and O2.

          BLUF: more flexibility than on the AD side of the house, but still the threat of separation if a 2x nonselect for promo. And the mandatory professional educational requirements can be career ending for an RC officer who doesn’t meet them.

    • Devtun says:

      DOPMA stipulates after 2 yrs in grade as 0-1. Basically stay out of jail & you get promoted (same from 0-2 to 0-3).
      Until just before WW2, the army largely went by a seniority promotion system. General Pershing was stuck at captain for a long ass time before Pres Teddy Roosevelt bypassed the system & elevated him 4 grades to BG, and same w/ Ike stuck at major for over a decade.

      • Luddite4change says:

        The seniority system existed from around 1800 to 1948. A couple of things to remember, the first being that the officer career was 40 years, the system was pyramid shaped, and it was heavily affected by war losses.

        In Pershing’s case, he had the misfortune to enter service while service while the Civil War survivors (and post war expansion officers) were still on the books. Had he not been elevated by Roosevelt he would have likely gone from O-3 to O-6 in 5 years anyway due to the end of service of the Civil War 1860s cohorts in the 1900s.

        In Ike’s case, while he did spend 10 years as a Major his promotion to that permanent rank was much faster then normal due to the heavy losses suffered by officers during WWI.

        Also remember that officers may have held temporary or brevet rank during the Civil, Spanish American, and First World Wars. I recently reviewed a roster of the 8th Cavalry in 1876, 8 of their 9 most senior officers (1 O-6, 2 O-5, 6 O-4) had been GOs at some point during the Civil War. I’m sure that led to some interesting leadership dynamics in various units over the years, as it did with Patton’s assignment as the G-3 of what is now 25th ID in 1922.

    • rgr769 says:

      Back in my AD days of 1968 to 1974 it took 12 months to be promoted to 1LT, then another 12 months to be promoted to CPT, unless you were a dickstepper, of course. Those promotions were pretty much automatic, irrespective of RA or reserve if on AD. In 1973, promotion to Major could take another 4 to 6 years for RA officers and was more discretionary.

      • Hondo says:

        That was the rule during the height of Vietnam for O1-to-O2-to-O3. However, time to O4 could be quick – or quite lengthy – depending on precisely when the individual served.

        I knew a guy when I was a youngster who’d been commissioned in the mid 1960s and who’d served in Vietnam (1966 and 1967, I think, and he may have had another tour later). He made CPT in about 2 years – and got caught up by the drastic slowdown in promotions as Vietnam wound down and afterwards as the Army downsized. He made MAJ after a bit over 9 years TIG as a CPT. The guys commissioned the previous year who were selected for MAJ pinned on their rank after between 4 and 6 years TIG. His year group just got “lucky”.

        Based on his assignment at the time he got promoted, I’m positive that was his first consideration – he’d not have gotten the assignment were he a screw-up.

        • Dinotanker says:

          Hondo and all,

          THANKS MUCH! I just say that it took the good General something like 2.5 years to go from 2LT to 1LT; during a war. Wasn’t sure if that was an artifact of the time, or a thing specific to the Army Nurse Corps.

          Regarding my USAR time as an O-1 through O-3; I was commissioned via ROTC at the Univ of Montana in 1984; I pretty knew going in that advancement would be slow compared to the Regular Army side of things. ๐Ÿ™‚ A buddy an I, both of us prior enlisted dudes used to take bets on who was going to be the oldest LT in our battalion…he won.

          I really appreciate you all taking the time to dig into this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. borderbill (a NIMBY/BANANA) says:

    Thank you, General. Requiescat in Pace.

  4. JimV says:

    I volunteer at my local VA Hospital and work with the Hospice. Most of our residents are older veterans. The stories they tell me are amazing.

  5. Graybeard says:

    Thank you for your service and humility, Gen. Hays.

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    Thanks very much for your service, and the time you put in, General Hays.

    Rest in Peace.

  7. HMC Ret says:

    What a life. What a career. Thank you for your service.

  8. OWB says:

    Thank you, General Hays. Rest now in peace.

    I sure do like your style of feminism – train to do a job, then just do your job.

  9. QMC says:

    Rest In Peace Soldier. What a beautiful career and a great role model for so many today.

  10. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace.

  11. Aysel says:

    Rest in Peace.

    Now here’s someone to inspire to.

  12. E4 Mafia For Life. says:

    Awesome role model!
    RIP Gen Hayes.
    My daughter had the opportunity to see Nadja West sworn in when she was at Ft Sam Houston for AIT.
    “Nadja Y. West (born 1961) is a United States Army lieutenant general and the 44th U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. West is the first black Army Surgeon General, and was the first black female, active-duty, major general and the first black female major general in Army Medicine. West is also the first Army black female lieutenant general. She is the highest ranking female to have graduated from the United States Military Academy.”
    Rear Admiral Grace Hopper gave us the early human readable programming, COBOL.
    My wife let me have my balls once that she carries in her purse.


    RIP General Hays

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