Women have served the United States Army since 1775. They nursed the ill and wounded, laundered and mended clothing, and cooked for the troops in camp on campaign; services that did not exist among the uniformed personnel within the Army until the 20th century. Women were an invaluable and essential part of the Army as they are today.
Women continue to have a crucial role in current operations and their selfless sacrifices continue to break through gender barriers. "Valor knows no gender," President Barack Obama stated in a statement on lifting the ban on women in combat. In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signed a document to lift the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. This historical decision overturned a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry, and other combat roles and military occupational specialties. The Army continues to open more positions, approximately 33,000 positions in units that were previously closed off to women.