Annie G. Fox
Annie G. Fox was the first woman to be awarded the Purple Heart for her service during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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First Female Recipient of the Purple Heart
Annie G. Fox served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. 1st Lt. Fox worked at Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii, and was on duty the morning of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She served her country that day by tending to the soldiers and sailors who were hurt in the bombings. For her service at Pearl Harbor, she received the Purple Heart, the first woman awarded this honor. While the Purple Heart is usually given to soldiers injured in battle, this custom did not begin until later in World War II. Initially, when it was established by George Washington, the Purple Heart awarded any “singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service.” Lt. Fox’s service during Pearl Harbor, met this criteria, and thus she was awarded this great honor. The fact that she was a woman illustrates the changes in women’s roles that occurred during World War II. That war forever changed how women were viewed and valued in society and the military.