Elizabeth P. Hoisington
Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington (November 3, 1918 – August 21, 2007) was a United States Army officer who was one of the first two women to attain the rank of brigadier general.
Born in Newton, Kansas, on November 3, 1918, Elizabeth Hoisington was a 1940 graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
During World War II the United States Army expanded opportunities for women beyond nursing by creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).
Elizabeth Hoisington enlisted in the WAACs in November 1942 and completed her basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. At the time, women were required to serve in units before they could apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS), so Private Hoisington went to a WAAC aircraft early warning unit in Bangor, Maine.
The company commander recognized her talents and made her the first sergeant soon after her arrival.
"From Private to First Sergeant, that was my greatest promotion in the Army." ~General Hoisington
She later said that she then sought out the most grizzled male first sergeant she could find and asked him to teach her what she needed to know. She claimed that he did such a good job that when she reached OCS she never had to open a book.
Hoisington was commissioned in May, 1943, as a WAAC third officer. When the auxiliary became the Women's Army Corps (WAC) a month later, its officers changed to standard Army ranks, and Hoisington became a second lieutenant. She deployed to Europe, serving in France after D-Day. Hoisington continued her career after World War II and advanced through the ranks to colonel as she commanded WAC units in Japan, Germany, and France and served in staff assignments in San Francisco and at the Pentagon.
She was appointed the seventh director of the Women's Army Corps on August 1, 1965, and served from 1966 to 1971. As director during the Vietnam War she visited WACs serving in Saigon and Long Binh in September, 1967. According to some sources, Hoisington discouraged sending Army women to Vietnam because she believed the controversy would deter progress in expanding the overall role of women in the Army.
Promotion to Brigadier General
On May 15, 1970, President Nixon announced the first women selected for promotion to brigadier general: Anna Mae Hays, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Hoisington.
On June 11, 1970, the two women were promoted. According to the Army Nurse Corps Association, Hays was the first woman in the United States Armed Forces to wear the insignia of a brigadier general." Hays and Hoisington were promoted on the same day within minutes of each other.
The Hoisington and Hays promotions resulted in positive public relations for the Army, including appearances on the Dick Cavett, David Frost and "Today" shows. Hoisington, who was noted for her quick smile and ebullient personality, also appeared as a mystery guest on the popular game show "What's My Line?"
Hoisington retired on August 1, 1971.
Her grandfather, Colonel Perry Milo Hoisington I, helped to organize the Kansas National Guard. Her father, Gregory Hoisington, was a graduate of West Point and a colonel in the Army. He was a direct descendant of Ebenezer Hoisington, a founder of the state of Vermont and one of the soldiers who served during the American Revolution.
Her brother, Perry Hoisington II, was a United States Air Force general. Elizabeth Hoisington’s 1970 promotion made them the first brother and sister generals in the United States military.
She was survived by a younger brother, Robert, and a sister, Nancy.
Death and burial
General Hoisington died in Springfield, Virginia, on August 21, 2007, at the age of 88. She is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 6, Site 9239-B.
|1st Row||Army Distinguished Service Medal||Legion of Merit w/ Oak Leaf Cluster|
|2nd Row||Bronze Star Medal||Army Commendation Medal||Women's Army Corps Service Medal|
|3rd Row||American Campaign Medal||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ one service star||World War II Victory Medal|
|4th Row||Army of Occupation Medal||National Defense Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster||Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France) w/ Star|
- "Marching on - Three Generations of Army Women" by Lt. Col. Randy Pullen
An obituary in the Washington Post dated November 4, 2007, lists four siblings: Major General Perry M. Hoisington, USAF (Ret.), Lt Col Robert H. Hoisington, USA (Ret.), Mary Jo Maertens and Nancy H. Smith; 18 nieces and nephews, numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
- "Brigadier General Anna Mae Hays: 13th Chief, Army Nurse Corps" by Mary T. Sarnecky
- History of Army Women: Significant Dates (1966 - 1975)
- Timeline Dates for Women in the Military Officially
- "The Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War" by Colonel Bettie J. Morden, U.S. Army Retired
- Women in the United States Military History: In Vietnam
- Washington Post obituary - source: The American Family Hoisington, by Harry Hoisington, 1934