Evelyn Patricia "Pat" Foote was born on 19 May 1930 in Durham, North Carolina, the youngest of three children. Her parents, Evelyn Sidena Womack Foote and Henry Alexander Foote, both worked for the American Tobacco Company while Foote was a child. In 1945, the Foote family moved to Washington, D.C., and Pat Foote graduated from Central High School in 1947. She attended Wake Forest College in North Carolina, graduating with a sociology degree in 1953. She then held various jobs before receiving a commission to the U.S. Army in November 1959.
In February 1960 Foote began her career in the Women’s Army Corps [WAC] at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and after completing officer training became platoon officer for the training battalion there. Her subsequent duty stations include: Portland, Oregon (1961-1964); Fort Belvoir, Virginia (1964-66); Saigon, Vietnam (1967); Washington, D.C. (1968-71, 1972-73, 1986-88); Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (1971-72); Fort McPherson, Georgia (1974-76); Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania (1976-77); and Manheim, Germany (1983-1986). Her final command was at Fort Belvior, where she also served as deputy commander of the Military District of Washington.
During her thirty year career, Foote commanded at the company, battalion, brigade, and major installation levels. She commanded one of the first integrated training battalions; became the first female public relations officer in Vietnam in 1967; was the first female faculty member of the U.S. Army War School in 1979; was the first female brigade commander in Europe; became the first female inspector general in the army in 1986; and became the first female commander of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in 1988. When Foote was promoted to Brigadier General in 1986, she became one of only four female generals in the U.S. Army.
Foote retired in 1989 but remained involved in issues related to women in the military, serving on many committees and organizations and as a prominent public speaker. Foote also served on the first Clinton-Gore National Veterans Task Force, on the American Battle Monuments Commission, and as one of the original members of the World War II Memorial Committee. She was recalled to active duty in 1996 and served for one year as the vice chairman of the Secretary of the Army’s Senior Review Panel on Sexual Harassment. In 1998, she became president of the Alliance for National Defense. Foote is a recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Wake Forest University, and served on its Board of Visitors from 1995 to 1998.