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Donna-Mae Smith, the first woman bugler in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps

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As we celebrate Veterans Day, it’s key to recognize and pay tribute to the countless women who have served in the U. S. Armed Forces. Women Veterans have made significant contributions throughout American history, often overcoming gender barriers and breaking new ground. Among these remarkable women is Donna-Mae Smith, the first woman bugler in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

Women Veterans’ contributions

Women played a vital role in the military since the beginning of our nation’s history. However, their contributions went overlooked, undervalued and often left out of history books. It was only in recent decades that womens’ roles in the armed forces grew significantly, opening them to serve in combat positions. Women Veterans have served as pilots, nurses, intelligence officers, engineers, rangers and various other capacities, demonstrating their dedication and capability in defending our country.

A Day of Remembrance and Gratitude

Veterans Day is a time to honor all Veterans who have served in the military, both past and present. It is a day to express gratitude for their service, sacrifice and unwavering commitment to protecting our nation’s values and freedoms. On this day, we remember the bravery and resilience of women Veterans who have contributed to the defense of our country and paved the way for future generations of women warriors.

Trailblazer, Sergeant Donna-Mae Smith

This year’s VA Veterans Day poster is a beautiful reflection of a male bugler. Did you know that we’ve also had women buglers?

Sergeant Donna-Mae Smith was the first woman bugler. Her historic role in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) represents a significant milestone. When the WAAC was established during World War II, it was intended to recruit women into non-combat roles, freeing up men for front-line duty. Despite resistance and skepticism, she pursued her dream of becoming a bugler, which had been a male-dominated role. Her story is one of women having to stand taller, dig deeper and be stronger in the face of adversity to be acknowledged and accepted.

“She broke ground for a lot of women not only to join the military but to be proud of who they are as women Veterans,” she told TAPSBUGLAR in an interview.

Inspiration and Empowerment

The impact of Donna-Mae Smith’s accomplishments extends far beyond her own personal journey. Her story serves as an inspiration to women who want to serve in the military, proving that they can excel in any role. By defying expectations and pursuing her passion, she empowers other women to follow their dreams and serve their nation through the armed forces in ways that were once unimaginable.

Honoring Women Veterans

As we commemorate Veterans Day, let us remember and honor all of the brave women Veterans who have selflessly served our country. Their contributions have been invaluable, and their sacrifices deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.


This Veterans Month, and always, we thank you for your dedication and commitment to our country. VA proudly serves all Veterans. VA wants women Veterans to know: You belong at VA. We continue to improve our services to ensure you receive the best care to #BringWomenVeteransHome2VA.

Learn more about the Center for Women Veterans, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @VAWomenVets.

Call or text 1-855-VA-WOMEN to learn more about the comprehensive, gender-specific health care available to you. You served our country, now access the benefits that you earned and deserve.

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