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Women in History: Guyana’s First Female Army Officers

Below, the first female army officers, from left, Brenda Aaron, Clarissa Hukumchand, Hyacinth King and Captain Joan Granger, in their uniforms of green khaki shirts and blouse, green berets, shiny black shoes and shoulder bags at Camp Ayanganna. Reprinted from Guyana Graphic, Tuesday, January 31, 1967 (Winston Oudkerk photo)

The four young women are donned military uniforms of green khaki on January 30, 1967 and marched smartly off to begin a course of training as officers in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Army.

The four female officers were first taken on a tour of GDF headquarters, Thomas Lands and met with Chief of Staff, Colonel R. J. Pope and other officers.

First Army Girls
First Female Army Officers

Below are the first batch of women soldiers, before leaving the GDF headquarters where they were fitted out with green skirts and shirts, were addressed by Lieutenant Richard Fraser. The women soldiers did drilling, weapon training, cooking, clerical duties, and drove and serviced vehicles. (Winston Oudkerk photo).

Army Girls 2
First Batch of Women Soldiers

Below are the first all female guard-of-honour at the then Timehri International Airport during the visit of Prime Minister Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to Guyana in 1975.

It was also a significant event for women as that year was designated International Women’s Year.  Officer in charge of the parade was Major Brenda Aaron and the colour party comprised Lt Cheryl Pickering, colour ensign, Sgt Lorraine Solomon and Cpls Lynette Smith and Marva Nedd’. (Photo, courtesy of Pilot Cheryl-Pickering-Moore)

Female Guard of Honour
Female Guard of Honour

Seven soldiers who were in the Women’s Army Corps from its inception, from left, Sergeant Skerett; Sergeant Wood; Staff Sergeant Sinclair; Staff Sergeant Croft; Warrant Officer 11, Duncan; Warrant Officer 11, Arthur and Major Aaron, pose during the 20th Anniversary of the WAC, February 1987. They all received gold ring from wife of then Chief of Staff, Major General, Norman Mc Lean on the occasion. ( Chronicle file/Winston Oudkerk photo)

Women’s Army Corps
Women’s Army Corps

Cheryl Pickering-Moore, the first female helicopter pilot in the Guyana Defence Force with another of her colleagues Beverly Drakes in one of the GDF helicopters. Pickering and Drakes both received training at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.A (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Pickering-Moore).

First Female Helicopter Pilots
Female Helicopter Pilots

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Comments (4)

Got goose pimples looking at these pictures. Aunty Brenda and your mom -splitting images.

My standing ovation especially to Captain Aaron

congratulations you had paved the way for our young and intelligent females to serve the country

Although I was not enlisted until some time later, I do view the WAC with pride and admiration. Indeed, they have done extremely well.
The nation is proud of you.

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