01/04/2009 13:30:00

Army Honors 1(st) Female Aviator in Recognition of Women’s History Month

Thirty-five years ago, 2nd Lieutenant Sally Murphy walked

across a stage at Fort Rucker, Alabama and stepped into U.S. Army

history. It was 1974 and Murphy became the first woman to graduate from

the Army Aviation School. She was the Army’s first female helicopter and

fixed wing pilot. She retired as a Colonel in 1999.

Murphy was honored in a formal ceremony last week at Fort Myer in

Arlington, Virginia and received the U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute

Veteran Commendation to commemorate her 27 years of service and her

place in military history.

“I come from an Army family that is dedicated to service,” said Murphy,

now 60 years old. “My husband was an Army combat helicopter pilot in

Vietnam. My son and daughter-in-law are Army officers and have served

overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am humbled and take great pride in

receiving the Freedom Team Salute Commendation.”

Murphy joined the Army’s Women Army Corps (WAC) program in 1972 and

entered the Aviation School when the Army opened its ranks to women. She

had previously attended the Military Intelligence School at Fort

Huachuca, Arizona. After graduating from Aviation School, she served

with the 330th Army Security Agency Company (Guardrail II)

flying RU-21 airplanes as an intelligence officer along the border

between Germany and the Soviet Union. Later she flew Huey helicopters

and commanded a Company for the 1st infantry Division at Fort

Riley, Kansas and went on to command the 62nd Aviation

Company in Germany and the 78th Aviation Battalion

(Provisional) in Japan.

“I was the only woman in Army Aviation School in the early 70s and if I

told you I did not have problems with a few people, I would not be

truthful,” said Murphy. “But things were changing and with the Vietnam

War winding down, the Army needed to fill some voids. There were some

tough times but it made me stronger. The Army is a family and there was

always someone giving me encouragement and ready to assist me anytime I

needed help.”

“Colonel (Ret.) Sally Murphy is an Army Aviation legend,” said Colonel

David Griffith, Director of the Army’s Freedom Team Salute Program. “It

is not often we have the opportunity to honor someone with a

commendation who was a trailblazer. Sally Murphy has paved the way for

hundreds of women to follow her footsteps and become Army Aviators. She

is truly living history.”

Freedom Team Salute Commendations consist of a personalized letter and

certificate signed by the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren and the Army

Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey Jr. Honorees also receive

official Army Lapel pins and The Salute, a quarterly newsletter

that contains information of interest to the Army family.

Freedom Team Salute is a U.S. Army program established in 2005 by the

Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff which gives the public the

opportunity to thank all U.S. Army Veterans for their service by

recognizing them with Commendations. The program also honors and

recognizes the Parents, Spouses, Employers, and Supporters of Active

Duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers. Freedom Team Salute has

honored more than 1.9 million individuals since its launch. For more

information on honoring a Veteran or becoming a Freedom Team Salute

Ambassador, go to www.freedomteamsalute.com

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: https://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5930480&lang=en

U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute

David Thompson, 703-325-3963

(office)

301-785-7670 (mobile)

David.Thompson57@us.army.mil

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