Rep. Cleaver re-introduces bill awarding Congressional gold medals to “Hello Girls”


Female US Signal Corps Telephone Operators in Chaumont, France during WWI. G.H.Q. Chaumont, Hte Marne, France, Nov. 5, 1918. // Photo from the United States Army Signal Corps

Representative Emanuel Cleaver announced the introduction of H.R. 4949 today, a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the “Hello Girls” of World War I.

Known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators during the war, the “Hello Girls” were the first female soldiers to be deployed to a combat zone. They played a large part in the war effort in France since telecommunication in a war zone was still relatively new. The “Hello Girls” were the first women to hold non-medical positions in the U.S. Army and connected over 26 million calls for the war effort.

If passed, the bill would award over 220 American women with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.

“During a period when the women of our nation weren’t afforded the right to vote, these patriots dropped everything to support our country in its time of need,” Cleaver says in a press release. “Not only did they answer the call to service, but they also demonstrated the work ethic, proficiency, and selflessness needed to help the Allied Powers win the Great War. The pivotal role of the “Hello Girls” cannot be overlooked, which is why I am asking Congress to recognize their service with the highest honor awarded by this distinguished body.”

This is not the first time this bill has been introduced by Cleaver. In 2019, he introduced it to the House and it was referred to the Committee of Financial Services and the Committee of House Administration, but nothing ever came of it. That same year, Senator Jon Tester introduced a similar bill, S. 206, but it also never went any further than its introduction.

In March, Tester also reintroduced his bill to the Senate.

Categories: Politics