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Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington
Hoisington as a brigadier general and Director of the Women's Army Corps, circa 1970
|Born||November 3, 1918|
|Died||August 21, 2007 (aged 88)|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942–1971|
|Commands held||Women's Army Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal|
Legion of Merit (2)
|Relations||Colonel Perry M. Hoisington (grandfather)|
Colonel Gregory Hoisington (father)
Major General Perry M. Hoisington II (brother)
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.
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 said 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.
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. The two women were promoted on June 11. Hays and Hoisington were promoted within minutes of each other. Because they were promoted in alphabetical order, Hays was the first woman in the United States Armed Forces to wear the insignia of a brigadier general.
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 a soldier in the American Revolution.
|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|
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.