Celebrating women in service

The Women’s History Month observance held Friday at Fort Meade brought together a powerful program featuring retired Colonels Pat Jernigan and Wendy Messick, and Lisa Szymanski who spoke on the subject of “Honoring Trailblazing Women.”

Observing National Women’s History Month provides an opportunity for the nation and the U.S. Army to amplify the celebration of women’s contributions to this country and its Army.

The Army honors the sacrifices and accomplishments of the women who have helped shape not only the service, but the country.

Women play vital roles in today’s Army. They are leaders overseas and at home. They are Soldiers and Army civilians, as well as family members, who are all critical members of the Army team.

The Army honors all women for their military and civil service, their support and strength, and their sacrifices to help ensure the freedom and liberty cherished by all Americans.

Army leaders across the department continue to set the conditions for all Soldiers to reach their full potential and, as such, must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender.

For the first time in history, the Army has fully integrated women into all military positions, which contributes to a stronger force.

Women Soldiers have recently made historic strides, from graduating Ranger School and the appointment of the first black female Army surgeon general to the Department of Defense — opening up all military occupational specialties to women.

Last year, Pfc. Katherine Beatty became the first female cannon-crew member.

In 2015, Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the first woman and the first African-American to serve as adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, took command of the Maryland National Guard.

In addition, Brig. Gen. Diana Holland was named in 2015 the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Women’s History Month stands as a further reminder of the strength the Army has gained and will continue to gain through a high-quality, diverse, all-volunteer force standing ready to answer the nation’s call.

Women Soldiers help to make the Army the finest fighting force in the world, and Army leadership will continue to shape policy that ensures the force of the future remains so.

The Army is proud of today’s women Soldiers who serve with distinction and are role models exemplifying the highest values.

Fully integrating women into all military positions will allow women to contribute in all aspects to the armed forces, which will facilitate improvement throughout the organization.

Editor’s note: This column was originally published by G-1, Headquarters, Department of the Army.

Find more information on Women in the Army and other historical facts online. Click on videos, under Tribute to Women in the United States Army.

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