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USS Lexington exhibit to honor legacies of women of the Navy

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 19:51:44-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For more than a century, there have been numerous firsts for women who proudly served in the US Navy.

Anne Evdosuk, who lives right here in the Coastal Bend, accomplished one of those firsts, having served aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the 1990's at a time women were newly assigned aboard operational combatant ships.

"It was just an amazing incredible time that I didn't appreciate as much then as I do now," Evdosuk said.

Being a member of the Navy was a family tradition for Evdosuk. Being a woman in the Navy however, came with extra challenges because of her gender.

"I didn't want them saying 'Oh, she's a girl. She can't do it,' so I did," she said. "I mean, I just proved them wrong."

She proved them wrong like all the other service women who came before her. They fought for more than freedom — they fought for equality, too.

"They make me proud that I could follow their legacy and their sisterhood to go on just to say 'I served my country,' " said Evdosuk.

Throughout the years, women have made tremendous gains in the Navy, and that's significant, especially when you consider how it all started.

In 1908, a group called the "Sacred Twenty" became the first women to serve in the Navy Nurse Corps.

They were forced to pay out of their own pockets for their rooms and meals.

"Those Navy nurses started out with no rank , no pay … they were just doing the service that they knew they needed to do for their country," said USS Lexington Museum Executive Director Steve Banta.

Plans are now in the works at the USS Lexington Museum for a million-dollar exhibit. It's to honor the struggles, strides, and service of these legendary women of the Navy.
And the "Lady Lex" is the ideal location for such an exhibit. In 1980, the "Lex" was actually the first aircraft carrier to allow females to serve as crew members.

"It's amazing to see what this ship did in its role in the transition of women in the Navy, and we're gonna showcase that for everybody," said Banta.

The exhibit, which is expected to open to the public in late 2022, will be a walk-through tour starting with the early wars of the 20th century.

It will showcase the accomplishments of women who paved the way, such as Barbara Rainey, in 1974. She earned her gold wings as the first female naval aviator.

The first female four-star admiral of the US Navy Michelle Howard will also be featured.

There will even be a display for Navy Captain Amy Bauerschmidt, who recently received a major promotion on the same carrier Anne Evdosuk once served.

"(She is the) first female captain on a nuclear-powered ship, so that's amazing," noted Evdosuk about how far women have come compared to men in the Navy. "We've made great strides. It's not even, but it's close."