Loretta Walsh

Walsh, date unknown. US Navy photo.

Born: 1896
Years of Service

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1896, Loretta Perfectus Walsh would become the first woman to enlist in the US Navy. She was sworn in on 17 March, 1917, for a four-year enlistment period in the Reserves at the rank of Yeoman. Walsh was engaged in clerical work during World War I, and remained on active duty until July, 1919, when the remaining women in the service were released from duty. Walsh contracted influenza in the autumn of 1918, which may have contributed to her later getting tuberculosis. She remained on the reserve list, collecting pay until her enlistment expired in 1921. Walsh died in August, 1925.


Fun Fact: One of the 24-pounder cannons aboard USS Constitution is named Perfectus, after Walsh.