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Committee Members

Kelli Zaytoun (Project Director), Julianne Weinzimmer (Committee Member), Nancy Garner (Committee Member)

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Master of Humanities (MHum)


The Women’s Armed Service Act of 1948 limited women primarily to socially acceptable ratings in the clerical, medical and training fields. With the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Rule for women in 2013 and the opening of all ratings to any qualified person in 2016, today’s military women have opportunities unequal to those of the past. Between 1948 and 2016, policies regarding women fluctuated, opening and closing various nontraditional ratings and leaving women caught in the crossfire. The Navy’s Fire Controlman was one of those ratings, opening to women in 1972 and closing again in 1983. Approximately thirty women enlisted as Fire Controlmen during that time. I was one of those women. I conducted an auto ethnography based on my own experiences as a Navy Fire Controlman, alongside open-ended interviews with five other women who served in this role. I examine our experiences within the masculine military structure, how our service impacted our lives, and our perception of how our service has contributed to today’s military.

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