The Sexes: Skirts and Stripes

With her short hair, decisive manner, and well-pressed Army greens festooned with ribbons, Colonel Nancy Hopfenspirger, 43, is every inch an officer. As she strides across the U.S. Army base at Würzburg, West Germany, each day, G.I.s snap to attention and the local employees murmur a respectful "Guten Morgen."

As the new deputy commander of Würzburg and of various support units in an area covering nearly one-third of southern West Germany, Hopfenspirger is one of a growing number of women to step into important command assignments. Colonel Frances Weir, 47, issues orders to...

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