First Female Special Agents Honored at 50-Year Celebration

Fifty years after beginning training at the FBI Academy to become the FBI's first female special agents, Joanne Pierce Misko and Susan Roley Malone returned to the FBI for an anniversary celebration and reunion.

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Slide: Fifty years ago, they were known as the nun and the Marine.

Slide: Today, they are known as trailblazers, the FBI’s first female special agents.

Slide: On July 17, 1972, they began training to be special agents.

Slide: They returned in July 2022, along with other female agent pioneers, to commemorate the milestone. 

Joanne Pierce Misko: Our basic gear that we were issued was a gun, our creds, and a purse. We had to practice pulling the gun out if we can use it. I don't think we did that very often.

Slide: During her 22-year career, Misko served in three field offices and at FBI Headquarters. She also earned the Silver Star for Bravery from the American Police Hall of Fame.

Susan Roley Malone: When we first went into the Academy everybody was very curious. We were the experiment. They thought, well, we have to put them through. But they’re probably not going to make it. So it’s going to be an experiment. And here we are today. We did make it.

Slide: Malone worked in the Omaha and San Francisco field offices and on the Patty Hearst case, among many others. Her commendations include the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Julie Y. Cross Award.

Malone: Holding my badge and taking the oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and being sworn in as a special agent of the FBI, it was truly a dream come true. I reached for the stars and there I was, little Susie Roley, taking that oath. My dream came true.

Slide: Other firsts were honored during the 50th anniversary celebration.

Christine Jung: I was a firearms instructor here—the first female on the line. And it was quite an experience.

Slide: Christine Jung was the first female firearms instructor  and the first female agent to shoot a perfect score on the FBI’s practical pistol range.

Jung: I’m so envious of all of you starting off your careers. Good luck to all of you.

Slide: Kathleen Adams was the FBI’s first female SWAT team operator and SWAT team leader.

Slide: Jo Anne Sakato was the FBI’s first female special agent of Asian Ancestry in 1978.

Deputy Director Paul Abbate: You are true pioneers and the very embodiment of fidelity, bravery, and integrity. As the first female special agents at the FBI, you created an extraordinary legacy establishing the foundation which so many women continue to build and expand upon since 1972. And you serve as an incredible inspiration to so many. This gratitude and appreciation to each of you, and to all the first joining us here tonight, thank you all.

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