Donna-Mae Smith Becomes Army's First Military Bugler

Mar 28, 2014

 The first female bugler in the U.S. military, Donna-Mae Smith of Sutherlin, Ore., was inducted into the Bugler’s Hall of Fame in 2009.  Smith began her service in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942. Eventually rising to the rank of sergeant, Smith played for reveille and kept the Army on schedule with bugle calls at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

Following retirement in Douglas County, Smith played taps between 1992 and 2006 at an average of 100 veterans’ funerals a year.  In 1997 Smith went to Washington, D.C., to play with the U.S. Army Band at the dedication of the Women’s Military Memorial. When Smith retired from playing taps in 2006, she said she was satisfied to have done something for her country.  She was 90 years old when she died in 2010 in Roseburg, Ore. Fellow Douglas County military veteran Dodie Blessing remembered Smith as “one of many women in the service during the war who paved the way for generations of women.” Another veteran, Dona Brewer, said Smith “broke ground for a lot of women not only to join the military, but (also) to be proud of who they are as women veterans.”

   Sources: "Donna-Mae Taps Bugler." Taps Bugler. Ed. Jari Villanueva. 2014.. "Sounding her final note." NR Today. 10 Oct. 2006. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.  "Donna-Mae Smith." NR Today. 6 Apr. 2010. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.