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Support a Congressional Gold Medal for the WWI Hello Girls!

Find your state's Hello Girls, and write to Congress. Here's how:

Hello Girls group shot

100 years ago, a brave group of women volunteered to fight for their country-even before they had the right to vote. During World War One, nearly all switchboard operators in the United States were women. Yet when the American Expeditionary Forces deployed to France, they used male personnel to staff these vital parts of the telephone network, even though many of these men had never seen a switchboard!

When General Pershing arrived, he knew things had to change. He issued a personal request for a small unit of women to serve as switchboard operators and real-time translators so that French and American officers could coordinate under fire. Over 7,600 women volunteered for the first 100 slots. Eventually, 223 women and 2 men would serve in France in the Signal Corps Telephone Operator Unit (Female) - colloquially known as the "Hello Girls." They were the first unit of women to directly contribute to combat operations in American history.

Supporting combat operations in France, the Hello Girls connected over 26 million calls, averaging a speed of just ten seconds. That was six times faster than the men they replaced. Over 30 Hello Girls received individual commendations, and two made the ultimate sacrifice for their country while in Army service. 

Yet they returned home to bad news. Despite serving under commissioned officers, wearing dog tags, rank insignia, and uniforms, swearing the Army Oath, and being subject to courts-martial, the Hello Girls were told they had served as "civilian contractors" instead of soldiers. They were ignored for decades and forgotten by history.

For almost 60 years, the surviving unit members petitioned Congress for the same veterans recognition afforded to their male colleagues and female Army nurses. Finally, in 1977, Congress passed a law paving the way for the Hello Girls, and the WASP pilots from WW2, to be recognized as full veterans of the US Armed Forces.

In 2009, the WASPs received the Congressional Gold Medal. This is the highest medal bestowed by civilians in the United States. Today, our Commission is working to honor the Hello Girls with the same award, and we need YOUR help to bring them the recognition they deserve! 

The Hello Girls
Deserve a Congressional Gold Medal

Please help by contacting your legislators!

Below, you'll find a list of Hello Girls sorted by state for you to explore. Once you're done, we hope you will take a few moments to consider contacting your state's two Senators and your Representative in Congress to support this group of pioneering women and heroic Americans. Congress only awards a handful of Congressional Gold Medals each year, and they need to hear your voice as a constituent saying that the now is the time for the 118th Congress to honor the Hello Girls. You can read the legislation submitted in the Senate (S.815 - A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the female telephone operators of the Army Signal Corps, known as the "Hello Girls",  and the House (H.R.1572 - To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the female telephone operators of the Army Signal Corps, known as the "Hello Girls".),

Emails from readers like you have already secured the commitments of 52 Senators and 97 Representatives to support the Hello Girls - your voice does make a difference

Follow these quick steps:

Senators:
  • Click on your state below.
  • Click on the links for one of the two Senators from your state.
  • Fill out each senator's contact form, then copy and paste the state-specific message in the tab into the "Message" field of the form.
  • We encourage you to customize your note before sending!  Make it a personal message from you.
  • Check "yes, I'd like a response" from your Senator.
  • Click "Send"!
  • If you receive a reply from your Senator, or would otherwise like to contact our team with information, please forward any and all correspondence to hellogirls@worldwar1centennial.org.
  • Repeat the process for your other Senator.
 House of Representatives:
  • Click on your state below.
  • Click the link for your Representative 's website from the list of Congressional Districts
  • On your Representative's web site, navigate to the "Contact form.
  • Fill out the Representative's contact form, then copy and paste the state-specific message in the tab into the "Message" field of the form.
  • We encourage you to customize your note before sending!  Make it a personal message from you.
  • Check "yes, I'd like a response" from your Representative.
  • Click "Send"!
  • If you receive a reply from your Representative, or would otherwise like to contact our team with information, please forward any and all correspondence to hellogirls@worldwar1centennial.org.

Thank you for your support!

 

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