As the first woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, Darlene Iskra is a groundbreaker for women in the military.
Despite her groundbreaking status, Iskra’s initial goal in the Navy was not to be the first woman to command a ship. She just wanted to a career that was commensurate with her male counterparts. But her career includes many highlights of various roles for women in the military.
One of Iskra’s achievements includes being one of the first female diving officers in the Navy. She had no idea that she would become one of the first three female diving officers, thanks to her strong swimming skills.
Throughout her career, Iskra helped women find their place in the military free from stereotyping. In 2003, she helped staff and pass legislation on Capitol Hill for the Smith-Cantwell Amendment. This amendment forbade the DoD to require women service members to wear an abaya in Saudi Arabia.
Today, Iskra acts as an ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The memorial serves to honor the women who sacrificed their lives fighting for America.
Front entrance to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, by Rudi Williams, Public Domain.
The memorial is at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, and it aims to inform the public about the American women who have served this country. The memorial provides women Veterans’ oral and written history throughout the years.
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Darlene Iskra pushes to help women do what they are passionate about and find equality while serving their country.
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:
- Marine Corps Veteran Opha Mae Johnson
Michelle Cannon is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is a graduate student at Liberty University studying Professional Writing.