ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. –Since 1959, the Army Research and Development news magazine (later renamed Army Research, Design and Acquisition) highlighted Army-wide efforts in research and development under the direction of the Office of the Chief, Research and Development. Fifty years ago, in 1972, the magazine began a regular feature called “Women in Army Science,” a long overdue effort, though women were sporadically highlighted before then.

Included within the pages are features on several women’s careers from ECOM (Electronics Command, a predecessor organization to CECOM) and the Signal Corps Laboratories that were located at Fort Monmouth.

Though not always recognized, women have long supported the Army’s efforts to develop and implement new technologies in support of the Soldier.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

One such scientist is Dr. Edith Tebo, featured in a September 1972 article entitled “Women’s Lib in Army Labs Predates Modern Movement.” This article indicates that women scientists had been contributing to the Army mission for at least 25 years prior to 1972. Dr. Tebo began her career at the Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Laboratories in 1952 as a physicist, and started working with lasers in 1960. Prior, she worked in radio astronomy, atmospheric physics, and astrophysics. In 1963 she was appointed to the Army Materiel Command’s Laser Advisory Group. Dr. Tebo headed the Laser Techniques Team in the Electronics Command Electro-Optics Technical Area Combat Surveillance and Target Acquisition Laboratory.

The team studied Army applications for lasers, including range finders, illuminators and optical radar systems. Her undergraduate degree from Vassar College was in astronomy, mathematics and physics. She completed post graduate work at the University of Chicago, and earned her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Virginia in 1949. Dr. Tebo was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University. By 1972, she was credited with authoring 18 technical papers, and noted by inclusion in American Men of Science. She later went on to work for the Environmental Protection Agency, and in 1978 became the first director of the Great Lakes National Program Office.

Also highlighted in the same article were four additional ECOM women: Ms. Marilyn Levy, Ms. Mary Purvis, Mrs. Mary Tate, and Ms. Audrey Becker. These women’s accomplishments highlighted the variety and depth of scientific expertise that existed in the command at that time.

Levy was a noted chemist in the Photo-Optics Technical Area, Electronics Command Surveillance and Target Acquisition Laboratory. She received international acclaim as a pioneer and expert in photographic research. She was a 1971 recipient of the Army’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the 1973 Research and Development Achievement Award. At her retirement in 1979, as Chief of the Photo-Optics Division, she was credited with 21 patents in light-sensitive materials, photographic chemistry and image microstructure. She began her career at the Fort Monmouth Laboratories in 1953.

Purvis was an electronics engineer in the Acquisition and Analysis Team of the Aircraft Installation and Test Technical Area, Electronics Command Avionics Laboratory. She was involved in developing improved methods for acquiring system data on Army aircraft avionics systems using electronic testing techniques. She had a degree in electrical engineering, was acquiring a pilot’s license, and spent three months in Vietnam with the ECOM Research and Development Liaison Team.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Tate was an Electronics Command mathematician, and a member of the Mathematics Support Brach of the Computer-Aided Design Engineering and Mathematics Support Division. Her research concentrated on numerical analysis and digital computer programs development, and computer methods applicable in ECOM research and development projects. Tate graduated with a degree in mathematics from North Carolina College, and was pursuing graduate work at Rutgers University and Fairleigh Dickinson University

Finally, Baker was a patent draftsperson in the Patent Division of the Electronics Command Legal Office. She worked closely with scientists and lawyers, developing invention disclosure details from rough sketches, and prepared formal patent application drawings for new types of equipment, devices and techniques in the mechanical, electrical, electronic, chemical and photographic fields of research.

These brief sketches highlight only a few of the women whose careers not only supported the mission, but represented big steps forward in gaining recognition for the ongoing contributions by women scientists.