Join us for a reception with Colonel Debbie Read, featured in the #HerServiceUIUC exhibit in the First Floor North-South Hallway of the Main Library. The exhibit highlights the history of women in the military with a particular focus on women veterans who are alumna of the University of Illinois.
About Deborah Olson Read
Branch: Women’s Army Corps, then Army
Rank: Colonel (Retired)
Years in Service: 31
Primary Job: Teaching
Major: BA English, Honors in LAS, 1973
Women weren’t allowed to join ROTC when Colonel Read was at the University of Illinois, but that didn’t stop her. She was able to convince the program to allow her to participate in some field exercises and classes, thereby giving her a leg up when she commissioned into the Women’s Army Corps in 1973. As the Army capped the number of women in service at 2%, the advantage was needed. She was the first woman assigned to the 197th Infantry Brigade at Fort Benning and the first woman Instructor at the US Army Infantry School where she taught Military Intelligence. She went on to teach at the University of Detroit, University of Michigan, and at Purdue University. She also took part in the Strategic Crisis Exercise at the US Army War College. She was inducted into the Army ROTC “Fighting Illini” Battalion Hall of Fame in 2014.