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WASHINGTON — Hundreds of women who played a key role in coordinating American and French efforts in World War I but spent decades without full recognition of their work could soon be honored with Congress’ highest civilian award.

Earlier this week, a pair of senators introduced new legislation to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on the so-called “Hello Girls,” a group of more than 400 women connected to the U.S. Army Signal Corps who worked as switchboard operators at command outposts in Europe during the conflict.

The article goes on to state the following:

The women’s work required them to be bilingual and serve as a go-between for the allied forces as they fought on the front lines. But it took more than 60 years after the war for the U.S. government to formally recognize them as veterans.

“The Hello Girls stepped up to the plate and got the job done, and they played an important role in our nation’s history,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is co-sponsoring the bill with Montana Democrat Jon Tester. “They pioneered the way for female veterans, and like all of our nation’s service members, they should be recognized for their bravery and contributions.”

Elizabeth Cobbs, author of a biography on the women, in a statement dubbed the honorees “America’s first women soldiers” who “occupy an important place in our history as true pioneers.” She has argued their decades-long quest for recognition of their service helped advance women’s rights across the nation.

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