American women have served on the front lines of the battlefield since the United States declared itself an independent nation. Women disguised as men served in order to fight on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and Civil War, and as formal members of the military in an increasing number of roles from World War I to Vietnam. Each generation of women that served volunteered to support and defend their country in eras when women working outside the home was uncommon or even frowned upon. Here are some of the stories of women who served from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War, paving the way for others to serve in front-line combat today.

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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