Fifty Years of Female Special Agents
Celebrating the past, present, and future of women in the Bureau
As part of a two-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of female special agents in the FBI, some of the Bureau’s historic first female agents came back to Quantico and FBI Headquarters to share their experiences, stories, and advice with current personnel and new agent trainees.
While at Quantico, the first female agents toured the campus to see the changes that have been made since they were students 50 years ago. One of the first two female special agents, Joanne Pierce (Misko), noted: “I am impressed with how much the FBI has grown over the last 50 years.”
But beyond the growth in the Training Academy, she observed a more important change: “It is amazing to see so many female agents serving in leadership roles.”
It is a big change from the days she and Susan Roley (Malone) were labeled “the experiment” after the FBI changed a long-standing policy that prohibited women from applying to be special agents. They entered the Training Academy on July 17, 1972. Today, more than 3,000 women serve as special agents.
Top: Joanne Pierce Misko speaks with staff at the FBI Training Academy. Middle: Christine M. Jung, who was the Bureau's first female firearms instructor, laughs with JoAnn Sakato, the Bureau's first female Asian American special agent. Miiddle right: The Training Division replaced the pin Jung earned for shooting a "possible," or perfect score on the FBI firearms test. She had misplaced her first one. Bottom: Susan Roley Malone returns to the site of her special agent training after 50 years.
For the female agents, a tour highlight was getting the opportunity to sit in a classroom with some of the new agent trainees. The trainees were able to bond over commonalities with the first female agents and ask questions about what has and has not changed about the Basic Field Training Course.
Some of the Bureau’s historic “firsts” gathered during a two-day celebration marking 50 years of female special agents in the FBI. From left: JoAnn Sakato was the first Asian American female agent. Joanne Pierce Misko and Susan Roley Malone were the first two women to attend the FBI Academy. Kathy Adams was the first female SWAT team operator, and Christine M. Jung was the FBI's first female firearms instructor.