Women's warrior statue to be unveiled at museum
October 23, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 23, 2013) -- It represents the end of a nearly two-year quest that required consultation, conceptional drawings, inspections, meetings and measurements. The new women's warrior statue that will be unveiled Nov. 7 at the Army Women's Museum also will serve as a true Veterans Day tribute.
"She is set to become part of an outdoor exhibit at the museum, and pays tribute to the women who have served in the Army for the past 10-20 years," said Dr. Francoise Bonnell, museum director. "Our staff envisioned a full-size figure that would draw attention to the contributions of the modern Army female warrior."
The fiberglass statue, called Lt. FAWMA -- an acronym for Friends of the Army Women's Museum Association -- was paid for by contributions. Kodiak Studios, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., created the statue with constant consultation with the museum staff.
Bonnell noted, "A great amount of care and thought was put into the creation. She is youthful and reflects the energy of a young female Soldier. She is wearing all equipment that Soldiers use while in a field training environment or while deployed."
The director gives credit to Ronald Bingham, museum technician, for developing the early concept in 2011, and working with many Soldiers and Kodiak Studios to ensure that the finished statue met the numerous exacting specifications -- from patches to the hair bun. "All the credit goes to Ron for taking the lead over many months to complete it," she said. "Funding was critical and the Friends of the Army Women's Museum agreed to support the project."
"The female warrior represents all Army women from the Revolutionary War to present and even the future," said Bingham. "We chose her to be a first lieutenant to show her leadership of today's Army, and to represent the future of the Army as she progresses in rank and responsibility."
The statue has two unit patches, he noted, "She proudly wears an active duty combat patch representing the 1st Infantry Division and the 94th Infantry Division patch to represent our citizen Soldiers -- Reserves and National Guard."
He said the statue-making process began in January 2013 with the help of a host of Lee Soldiers. Sgt. 1st Class Sherry Williams, formerly with CASCOM, posed for initial photographs with the gear she wore while deployed in Iraq. She later modeled for photos of her hands. Sgt. 1st Class Naomi Rankin, who was with the Religious Support Office, was photographed showing the proper look on a military hair bun.
"This was a healthy project," said Alex Tisth, president of Kodiak, who along with a team of five others worked on Lt. FAWMA. "Every single inch of detail had to be approved. Our focus was to make sure everyone was comfortable with each step."
Prior to the final molding, Retired Col. German Velez and Sgt. Heather Norris from Fort Hamilton, N.Y., performed an on-site inspection at the studio in April.
Lt. FAWMA is ready to go public. It will be mounted on a pedestal outside the museum along with a bed of more than 200 personalized bricks. The public dedication ceremony begins at 1 p.m.
For more information, call (804) 734-4327.