Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first two women sworn in to the position of Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Joanne Pierce Misko and Susan Roley Malone–known as the nun and the Marine– began their training as FBI Special Agents on July 17, 1972.
“The FBI employs 2,675 female special agents (approximately 19% of total agent population), serving on and leading counterterrorism, cyber, counterintelligence, and criminal squads, the Bureau said in a press release. ”They are superb agents, who just happen to be women.”
Shortly after longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s death, then-Acting Director of the FBI Patrick Gray announced that women could apply for the position of Special Agent. The policy banning women from applying to become Special Agents dated back to 1928.
Misko and Malone began their training–which the Bureau describes as “tough enough on its own“– in Quantico, Virginia.
In a recent interview Malone recalled a classmate confronting her during lunch and asking why she thought she could be a Special Agent.
“And I sat down and I talked to him,” Malone stated. “I said, ‘I love my country just like you do. I want to be here for the same reasons that you want to be here.’”
After they completed their training Malone was sent to Omaha and Misko to St. Louis.