Meet The 101-Year-Old WWII Veteran Who Was One Of The First Females To Deploy Overseas

Equality in the military for men and women has been an ongoing battle. Service women still face the realities of unequal care and sexism, among other things. But many women are paving the way and acting as trailblazers.

Each year stories are coming out about women who pave the way for fellow women in the military. Back in 2022, Kentucky saw its first all-women honor flight. In 2021, Tiffany Patterson became the first woman to ever enlist in the infantry in Iowa.

Photo: TikTok/@disneyparks

While women trailblazers are certainly making waves in modern times, they have the opportunity to do so thanks to the women who came before them, including Navy veteran Pat Rudd.

According to Fox News, 101-year-old Rudd joined the military decades ago because she missed her brother. She wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Photo: Flickr/Nay Medicine

At that point, she couldn’t join the military like women can today. Instead, she joined Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, WAVES was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. “The WAVES program recruited women between 18 and 36 years old (and officers between 20 and 50) to serve onshore in the continental United States,” the Smithsonian notes.

The WAVES program offered women who weren’t nurses the opportunity to serve in the Navy for the very first time.

It’s through WAVES that Rudd was placed in the Navy and ultimately found herself among the first women to be deployed.

Speaking with a reporter from Fox News, she said: “I was in the Senate, and I happened to be there the day they passed the bill for us to go overseas, and I was so excited that I went back straight to quarters and signed up for volunteering to go. And I was chosen to be in the first 200 to go, and so that was a thrill to begin with.”

Photo: TikTok/@disneyparks

During the June 7th Flag Retreat ceremony in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Rudd was honored.

During the event, members of Disney SALUTE, a veteran employee resource group, including Susan Finnigan, Lead Project Manager for Disney marketing and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, honored Pat.

@disneyparks Pat Rudd, you made our day so special 🇺🇸❤️ #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #MagicKingdom #Veteran ♬ original sound – Disney Parks

According to a press release, Finnigan said: “Pat’s unwavering spirit and commitment to duty are an inspiration to fellow servicewomen. It was an honor to be able to join my fellow veterans here at Disney to help celebrate a trailblazer and hero like Pat.”

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