As a teenager, Karen Hobson, didn’t realize yet how she was about to make history. She grew up a tomboy in a non-military family, and upon graduating from high school, was ready to take on the world.
That fall in 1976, she entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was among the first class that allowed women into the academy. “I was part of the guinea pig class,” shared Hobson. “We helped figure out what worked and what didn’t.”
The initial full dress uniforms for women worn in parades didn’t have tails. Since formations in parades placed the shortest cadets, often women, in the back, it called attention to the females. Coats with tails were issued the following year.
Women’s hair had to be cut short, unlike today when females can put their hair up. “The barbers loved to see us coming,” she shared. “They would pull out their blow dryer and scissors and still go clip, clip, clip,” she said.
To Hobson, a current Falcon Middle School team member, it was great competing with the men. “Women who fell out of runs would get harrassed more.”She had males tell her if she didn’t quit, they wouldn’t either.
While 119 women entered the academy in 1976, only 62, including Hobson, graduated in 1980. “The Academy instilled a sense of duty and service to my country in me, so I’m happy I get to coordinate Veterans Day activities at FMS each year.”