One hundred years after the first women were permitted to officially join the U.S. military, a woman has been elected to head a top U.S. veterans' service organization.
Retired Army Reserve First Sgt. Delphine Metcalf-Foster was elected Aug. 1 as national commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at the organization's annual convention in New Orleans.
Commanders of the organization, which has about 1.3 million members, serve one-year terms. Metcalf-Foster was elected unanimously, officials said.
"When a man or woman raises their hand and says 'send me' when our nation calls, no one knows better than the members of DAV that they're writing a blank check to our country, and the ultimate payment could be their lives," Metcalf-Foster told the convention, according to a release.
"For those who have sacrificed for our country and their survivors, we must insist on a strong VA and health care system to meet their needs," she said. "I look forward to continuing DAV's nearly century-old mission of service as national commander."
Metcalf-Foster retired from the Reserves in 1996 after 21 years of service. Her units included the 689th Quartermaster Unit, 6253rd Hospital Unit and 6211th Transportation Unit, at the now-shuttered Letterman Army Medical Center in California.
Prior to taking the top DAV leadership spot, Metcalf-Foster served as the first woman commander of the organization's California chapter.
She also served a four-year appointment between 2012 and 2015 on the VA's Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
Injured in combat in 1991 while deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm, she was medevaced to Germany, DAV officials said in the release.
"After Delphine Metcalf-Foster was medevaced out of theater during Desert Storm, she had one request: to return and bring her soldiers home," DAV National Adjutant and Navy veteran Marc Burgess said in a statement to Military.com.
"This commitment to service over self exemplifies why Delphine is the perfect person for the job of DAV national commander," he said. "She has proven an unmatched commitment to her fellow disabled veterans, and the future of DAV is in strong, capable hands."
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at email@example.com.