March 20, 2021

Senator Hassan, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Award ‘Hello Girls’ with Congressional Gold Medal

Bipartisan Legislation Supported by Carolyn Timbie of Atkinson, Granddaughter of Grace Banker, Chief Operator of the Hello Girls

For more photos of Grace Banker, courtesy of Carolyn Timbie of Atkinson, click here.

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and a bipartisan group of her colleagues recently introduced legislation to honor the groundbreaking service of the women who served as telephone operators during World War I, and who were crucial in connecting American and French forces on the front lines. The bipartisan Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act would honor the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, also known as the Hello Girls, which includes Chief Operator Grace Banker, whose granddaughter, Carolyn Timbie, lives in Atkinson.

 

Despite their brave service, Grace Banker and many other Hello Girls were not granted veteran status until after their death.

 

“Grace Banker and the other Hello Girls were true patriots who answered America’s call to action by serving as crucial links between American and French forces on the front lines during World War I,” said Senator Hassan. “I am proud to join bipartisan efforts to award these bilingual women with the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of their brave and selfless service.” 

 

“I am so very proud of my grandmother, Grace Banker, and all of the women of the Telephone Unit of the US Signal Corp (known as the Hello Girls) who risked their lives to help win the war,” said Carolyn Timbie of Atkinson, granddaughter of Grace Banker, Chief Operator of the Hello Girls. “They returned to the United States and had to fight their own battle for 60 years to finally get their recognition as Veterans. Unfortunately, many of the women did not live to see that day, including my grandmother. It would be a wonderful tribute to these brave women if they could be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal and their story can be shared with the world!  I am particularly thankful to Sen. Maggie Hassan for co-sponsoring this bill.”

 

The Hello Girls were recruited after male infantrymen struggled to connect calls quickly or communicate with their French counterparts. The bilingual Hello Girls were deployed to France to serve at military headquarters and command outposts in the field alongside the American Expeditionary Forces. Banker was the chief operator of the first group of Hello Girls to be sent to France during the war.

 

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