“I am Armenian, but I have never been to my homeland. I really hope that one day I will fulfill my parents’ dream and visit Armenia,” said Anna Ter-Vardanian, the first female captain in the US Navy.

Anna Ter-Vardanian’s parents were genocide refugees who came from Kharberd to Detroit, Michigan, USA in late 1918. Father Matevos Ter-Vardanian was 27 years old and mother Arusyak Galustian was 21 when their daughter Anna was born.

During World War II, she enlisted in the country’s naval forces as part of the Women for Emergency Voluntary Service (WAVES) program. Overcoming many challenges during her military service, she earned the respect of her colleagues through her perseverance and discipline.

Anna Ter-Vardanian has received the National Defense Medal and other medals for her impeccable service. In addition to being an exemplary female soldier, she is also known as someone who paved the way for women to enter the U.S. armed forces.

After her service in the Navy, Anna Ter-Vardanian transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a junior analyst and later as a counterintelligence specialist. Details of her service in the department are kept secret to this day.

“It was good for me there. I was also a Middle East analyst,” Ter-Vardanian said in one of the interviews.

Anna Ter-Vardanian has traveled extensively throughout her life. She made official visits to Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. Despite her great desire to be in Armenia, she never managed to visit her homeland. She passed away on August 4, 2011 at the age of 90 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.