Officer Reflects on Her 30 Years of Service
March 14, 2007
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Army News Service, March 14, 2007) - As March is designated Women's History Month, a deployed woman officer with the Army Reserve reflected on 30 years of personal experience regarding women in the Army.
Lt. Col. Amy Blumenthal, a support operations plans officer for the 377th Theater Support Command, has experienced and witnessed changes both as an officer and enlisted Soldier.
"I've learned and seen a lot," Blumenthal said. "My military experience has made me have more confidence in myself. I was a turtle in a shell, and now I'm out of the shell."
Blumenthal was accepted into the National Guard Officer Candidate Program in 1979.
"This is when I realized, I had to survive in a world of men," she said.
The officer candidate school platoons were organized by alphabetical order and, by chance, Blumenthal was the only woman in her platoon.
She recalled how the women's barracks were a five-minute walk from the men's barracks, often making it difficult for cadets to change uniforms within the 10-minute allotted time.
She said she almost quit when she was assigned to flag detail and a last-minute uniform change caused her to rush back and forth to report in the correct uniform.
Blumenthal said she was picked on and singled out, despite not wanting extra attention. Regardless of the adversity, she completed the course.
"I did graduate in 1980, and I try to live by the three things constantly taught throughout the course: respect noncommissioned officers, never forget where you came from, and be professional," she said.
Another change Blumenthal witnessed in her 30 years with the Army was the integration of men and women.
"To an extent, I had a hard time with integration," she said. "The Army pushed for men and women to combine training and move living quarters closer together. The guys are like your brothers.
"I can understand joint training and living in the same building, but at least have separate floors," Blumenthal added. "Be professional, be a human being and be a lady. You can still be a Soldier and a lady."
Blumenthal joked she was even able to perform fitness routines when wearing the women's class A uniform.
"You know you've mastered push-ups when you can do them in a skirt," she said.
Though it may be impossible to capture every facet of Blumenthal's 30 years of Army Reserve experiences, she said, she knows the only constant in life is change, and how she has reacted to changes is what best defines her.
"We come to work every day and something is different," Blumenthal said. "Things change all the time. All that matters is how we evolve and make it better."