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Public Affairs : Admission of Women to USMA

Historical Information on the Admission on Women to the U.S. Military Academy
On October 8, 1975 , the President of the United States signed into law a bill directing that women would be admitted to America ’s service academies. The law stated that:

“. . . the Secretaries of the military departments concerned shall take such action as may be necessary and appropriate to insure that (1) female individuals shall be eligible for appointment and admission to the service academy concerned, beginning in calendar year 1976, and (2) “the academic and other relevant standards required for appointment, (admission) training, graduation and commissioning of female individuals shall be the same as those required for male individuals, except for those minimum essential adjustments in such standards required because of physiological differences between male and female individuals.”

In preparation for the entrance of women, Military Academy staff, faculty and cadets visited many locations, such as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (which admitted women in the Summer of 1974); the Women’s Army Corps Training Center at Fort McClellan, Ala.; Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) summer camps where women ROTC cadets were undergoing rigorous field training along with men; coeducational police academies; women’s sports camps; and civilian colleges. The visits developed as accurate a database as possible, so that decisions concerning women’s admission would be sound.

In the spring of 1975, then-Secretary of the Army Howard H. Callaway issued specific guidance concerning West Point ’s planning for the possible admission of women. He stated that as a basic philosophical approach, men and women cadets would follow one track during their cadet experience with only those minimum essential adjustments demanded by physiological differences between men and women. The Military Academy agreed with that philosophy, since it preserved important strengths of West Point , such as the unity of the Corps of Cadets and the commonalty of experience shared by all cadets.