Mary Louise Rasmuson

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Mary Louise Rasmuson
Mary Louise Rasmuson.jpg
Born (1911-04-11)April 11, 1911
East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died July 30, 2012(2012-07-30) (aged 101)
Anchorage, Alaska
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Commands held Women's Army Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Legion of Merit

Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson (April 11, 1911 – July 30, 2012) was an American army officer, and director of the Women's Army Corps.[1]

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.[2]


The Rasmusons were influential in establishing and greatly expanding the Anchorage Museum. Her step-daughter was Connecticut state representative Lile Gibbons.[1]


Further reading

External links