WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (September 28, 2022) Today, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) highlights nine Notable Hispanic Women in Army History.
Photo 1: Loreta Janeta Velazquez
In 1860, Velazquez was a Spy in the Civil War. As a Cuban-born wife of a Confederate Soldier, she enlisted in the Army disguised as a man using the name Lt. Harry T. Buford without her husband’s knowledge.
Photo 2: Tec 4 Carmen Contreras-Bozak
In 1942, she became the First Hispanic American to Serve in the Women’s Army Corps. She served with the Army Signal Corps during World War II, where she sent and received coded messages between Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters and the battlefield.
Photo 3: Pfc. Carmen Garcia Rosado
In 1944, Rosado became among the First 200 Puerto Rican Women Recruited to the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Her book "LAS WACS-Participacion de la Mujer Boricua en la Segunda Guerra Mundial" is the first to document the experiences of the first Puerto Rican women who served in World War II.
Photo 4: 2nd Lt. Carmen Lozano Dumler
In 1944, Dumler became one of the First Puerto Rican Women to Become a U.S. Army Officer. She was commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps on August 21, 1944. During World War II, she served as an interpreter and helped care for wounded servicemembers.
Photo 5: Col. (Ret.) Maritza Sáenz Ryan
In 2006, Ryan became the First Woman and First Hispanic West Point Department Head. She was a West Point grad and was part of the 3rd class to include women cadets. Ryan was named head of its Department of Law after presidential nomination and confirmation by Congress.
Photo 6: Brig. Gen. Irene “Ramba” Zoppi.
In 2017, Irene Zoppi became the First Female Puerto Rican General Officer in the United States Army Reserve. She began her military career in 1985. Today, she's a program director for the National Intelligence University.
Photo 7: Lt. Col. Marisol Chalas
In 2019, Chalas became the First Latina National Guard Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot. She moved from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. at age nine and enlisted in 1990. In 2001, she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Aviation branch.
Photo 8: Michele Pearce
In 2020, Pearce became the First Hispanic American Female Army General Counsel. Pearce served as the number two attorney in the Department of the Army providing legal and policy advice to Army senior leaders until January 2021.
Photo 9: Staff Sgt. Ariana Sanchez
In 2022, Sanchez became the First Female Sapper Leader Course (SLC) Instructor. Of the almost 200 female Soldiers who have completed the notoriously difficult 28-day SLC since it opened its doors to females in 1999, only nine have been in the enlisted ranks. Sanchez, a native of Ecuador, is the only one of those nine enlisted women to instruct future Sappers.