In the late 1970s, the 82nd Airborne Division welcomed its first female paratroopers. Leading the way was Bennis M. Blue.

As a young private first class, Blue started her military career as a company clerk for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Brigade, 108th Regiment, which was an Army Reserve unit in Virginia.

During her early time as a reservist, Blue attended Virginia State University to become a commissioned officer through the Women’s Army Corps Program.

The newly promoted 1st Lt. was then assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia as a Quartermaster officer. Later, she attended airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia.

After Blue earned her airborne wings, she received orders to Fort Bragg and a position in the 82nd Abn. Div.

Blue arrived at Fort Bragg on June 16, 1978. Shortly after, she completed her first jump as part of the 82nd Abn. Div.

Blue spent the rest of her active-duty service with the All-Americans. She later returned to a reserve unit in New York and was promoted to the rank of captain. Blue finished her career overseas as a company commander with a reserve unit in Germany.

Blue’s military career spanned 24 years. She holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State University and has held teaching positions at multiple universities, including VSU and University of Mount Olive in North Carolina.