Lt. Colonel Phyllis L. Propp Fowle


Lt. Colonel Phyllis L. Propp Fowle

Phyllis was a role model and an inspiration to young women serving their country.”
— Bettie J. Morden, 2000

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Phyllis L. Propp Fowle was the first to open the door for women lawyers to serve their country as soldiers and attorneys. Fowle was born in Jasper County, Iowa, and was educated in the Marshalltown Schools. She obtained her law degree from the University of Iowa Law School in 1933 – the only woman in her graduating class. During the United States’ engagement in World War II, Fowle, along with ten other women, was chosen to the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps leadership to start the Corps. She was detailed to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) and became the first woman Judge Advocate General officer in the United States Army on May 4, 1944. She immediately asked to attend the JAG’s School, but was denied as the school, housed at the University of Michigan, did not accept women. She was assigned as the Staff Judge Advocate at Ft. Des Moines, which is the highest legal position an attorney can hold at an Army post. She later was sent to Europe and was the only woman Judge Advocate to serve overseas during World War II. At the end of World War II after all women were discharged from service, she was invited to stay in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate as a civilian attorney acting as the Chief of Legal Assistance. After returning to the United States, Fowle served as Judge Advocate in the United States Army Reserves. She was born May 8, 1908 and died June 22, 2000. Fowle was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.