The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement



"Obscuritas Femininus Significains"

Welcome to "Obscuritas Femininus Significains" which in paraphrased Latin simply means some significant facts about women that have been obscured over time. Or for the trivia buff - some feminine trivia...except that there is nothing trivial about it. At any rate here, in no particular order, with no apparent system, is a collection of not-so well-known information about women.

The very first American armed ship named for a woman was Lady Washington a small wooden river gunboat built in 1776 by New York State to defend the Hudson River, named in honor of Martha Washington.

In 1858 the first armed U.S. Navy ship named for a woman was the Harriet Lane a Revenue Cutter, named for niece of President James Buchanan, who served as Buchanan's White House hostess. It was transferred to Navy when the Civil War began in 1861; captured by Confederates at Galveston Jan 1863.

In 1942 the following U.S. Navy ships were named for women:

Sacagawea (YT-241, harbor tug), name assigned to tug acquired by Maritime Commission for Navy use.

Pocahontas (harbor tug YT-266).

Elizabeth C. Stanton (AP-69), troop transport named 20 Aug.

Florence Nightingale (AP-70), transport named 20 Aug.

Mary Lyon (AP-71), transport named 20 Aug.

Dix (AP-67), transport, named for Dorothea Dix 20 Aug.

Susan B. Anthony (AP-72), transport named 20 Aug.

In 1944:

Watseka (YT-387), harbor tug named for Pottawatomi woman.

In 1945:

First warship named for woman by USN; first USN ship so named to take part in combat operations. Higbee -class destroyer. Named for Lenah S. Higbee, Superintendent of Navy Nurse Corps 1911-1922. Ship served in Fast Carrier Force.

In 1996:

The guided missile destroyer Hopper, DDG 70, commissioned on Saturday, January the 6th at Bath Ironworks in Bath, Maine. Named after Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who was one of the pioneering spirits in the field of computer technology, and led the Navy into the computer age. She first retired in 1967, then called back to active duty and retired a second time in 1986. She died in 1992. This is only the first time since World War II and the second time in the Navy's history that a warship has been named for a woman from the Navy's own ranks.

"Unusual Firsts"

On 3 March 1945 a young flight nurse, Ensign Jane Kendeigh, made history on Iwo Jima. She was aboard the first plane to land for aerial evacuation on the recently secured airfield, becoming the first flight nurse in history to set foot upon a battlefield. Before landing, the R-4D transport plane that she was travelling in was forced to circle the airfield for 90 minutes while an offshore bombardment was in progress. Described in a press release as "108 pounds of green eyed charm and efficiency", ENS Kendeigh was also the first flight nurse to land on Okinawa. ENS Kendeigh was part of the first class of nurses that finished flight indoctrination 22 Jan 1945 at Alameda Naval Air Station, CA.

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