Mary Louise Rasmuson
|Mary Louise Rasmuson|
April 11, 1911|
East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|Died||July 30, 2012
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Commands held||Women's Army Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Legion of Merit|
Life and career
Born in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Milligan graduated with a bachelor's in education from what is now Carnegie Mellon University and received her masters in school administration from University of Pittsburgh. She was one of the first two women who were awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Carnegie Mellon. Prior to enlisting in the military, she worked as a secretary, teacher, and assistant principal.
She enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, where she started as a private in an experiment using women as military professionals. She worked up the ranks, and in 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Milligan director of the Women's Army Corps and in 1961, President John Kennedy reappointed her. She was also instrumental in the integration of black women in the Corps, and was awarded the Legion of Merit award for her work.
In 1961, she married Elmer E. Rasmuson, the president of National Bank of Alaska. The following year, she retired from the army and moved to Anchorage, Alaska. After retiring from the army, Rasmuson helped expand her husband's philanthropic efforts, including supporting civil rights, supporting education and cultural life in Anchorage and beyond. She also became a member of several military organizations and boards of the Alaska Crippled Children's Association, American Cancer Society, Anchorage Fine Arts Commission, and Anchorage March of Dimes.
At age 101, Rasmuson died at her home.
- William Yardley, "Mary Louise Rasmuson, Who Led Women's Army Corps, Dies at 101" (Obituary), New York Times, Aug. 5, 2012.
- Mike Dunham, "Alaska philanthropist Mary Louise Rasmuson dies" , Alaska Dispatch News, July. 31, 2012.
- Morden, Bettie J. The Women's Army Corps, 1945–1978. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1990. ISBN 0-16-002002-6 OCLC 20055841
- Willams, Vera S. WAC's: Women's Army Corps. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1997. ISBN 0-7603-0139-5 OCLC 36949896
- Sen. Begich Joins Alaskans Remembering Mary Louise Rasmuson
- Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson Passes Away at 101 after Many Long Years of Giving
- Former Women's Army Corps commandant dies at age 101
- Remembering Mary Louise Rasmuson
- Mary Louise Rasmuson, AK philanthropist, armed services pioneer dies at age 101
- Alaska philanthropist Mary Louise Rasmuson dies