Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Getting to Vietnam

Getting to Vietnam

More From Pat

In this video

Tagged as

Foote explains how she got herself to Vietnam at a time when women were kept away from combat zones in the military.

Pat's Biography

First Job: Sales clerk at GC Murphy five and dime store in Washington, D.C.
Best Weapon:  A good sense of humor to get through challenges.  “If you don't laugh, you cry and I'd rather laugh.”
Greatest Influence Never Met: Eleanor Roosevelt
Causes of Choice: Army Women’s Foundation; Alliance for National Defense

Brigadier General Evelyn “Pat” Foote is a retired U.S. Army general. Her groundbreaking achievements include being the first female Deputy Inspector General of the Army, being the first female brigade commander in Europe, being the first female faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, and being the first female commander of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She is a champion for women’s advancement in the armed forces and extinguishing sexual assault and harassment within its ranks.
 
Foote was born in 1930, in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in sociology, working her way through college, in part, as a file clerk for the FBI. After graduating, she held a series of jobs in Washington, DC, including again at the FBI, at the Washington Daily News, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Grayline Sightseeing. Continually frustrated by the glass ceilings and pay discrepancies in these positions, she joined the Women’s Army Corps at the age of 29, lured by the equal pay for men and women.
 
Foote rose through the ranks and, in 1967, she was sent to Vietnam to be the first female public relations officer in Saigon. During her thirty-year career she commanded at the company, battalion, brigade, and major installation levels. She lobbied hard for the recruitment of greater numbers of women into the armed forces after the draft ended in the 1970s, and commanded one of the first sex integrated training battalions. In 1986, she became one of only four female generals in the Armed Forces.
 
Ever since her retirement in 1989, General Foote has stayed involved in military life as an advisor, non-profit board member, and public speaker. She was temporarily called back to duty in 1996, to serve as the Vice Chair on the Army’s Senior Review Panel on Sexual Harassment. She was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the American Battle Monument Commission and served on the original committee charged with the site selection, architectural competition and construction of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall. In 1998, she became the founding president, now President Emerita, of the Alliance for National Defense, a non-profit formed to be a reasoned voice for women serving in the armed forces. She also serves on board of the Army Women’s Foundation and is a founding member of the National World War II Memorial Foundation.

Related Videos

Alice Walker
Alice Walker
Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Growing up in the South prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement, had a major impact on the life and career of novelist, poet, and activist, Alice Walker. The eighth child of ...

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King
Tennis Champion & Activist

Billie Jean King first learned tennis in the late 1950s on the public courts in Long Beach, California. The game ultimately took her farther than she could possibly have imagined. ...

Valerie Jarrett and The White House Summit on Working Families
Valerie Jarrett and The White House Summit on Working Families
Senior Advisor to President of the United States

This MAKERS Monday headlines with MAKER Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, and The White House Summit for Working Families. In honor of next week's White Hou...

Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Director of Theatre & Film

Director Julie Taymor was born into theatrics. Raised outside of Boston by a family who encouraged her early independence and passion for theater, Taymor entrenched herself in perf...