FORT STEWART, Ga. - The "Vanguard" brigade hosted a women's forum for female Soldiers in the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, Dec. 15, at the Main Post Chapel.

The day-long event, which featured keynote speakers Lt. Col. Heidi Hoyle, commander of 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Inf. Div., and Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Howard, command sergeant major of 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd SB, included a panel discussion and a presentation on sexual assault awareness.

Colonel Kimo C. Gallahue, commander of 4IBCT, requested the forum be held to address female Soldiers' issues and to provide Soldiers the opportunity to speak with senior leaders about navigating through successful careers in the Army.

Both Lt. Col. Hoyle and Command Sgt. Maj. Howard told the attendees that earning rank and esteem in the Army requires possessing a high level of physical fitness and technical proficiency--qualities required of every Soldier regardless of gender.

"You've got to believe in yourself," Command Sgt. Maj. Howard said. "You've got to give one hundred and ten percent. You've got to dot every 'I' and cross every 'T' before you go out and complain."

Specialist Jessica J. Howard, a native of Oak Forrest, Ill., and a motor transport operator with Company A, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4IBCT, said having the opportunity to hear what the guest speakers had to say was meaningful.

"I've been in the military for five years and … a lot of people have told me that I can't … do this, that I can't do that," Spc. Howard said. "But … the fact is … if you put your mind to it you can."

Specialist Howard said a leader from her past discouraged her during a deployment, saying she would never learn how to drive a specific type of military vehicle. The motor transport operator said she relied on the advice from a senior leader to navigate through the situation.

"She told me to look at it as a challenge [and] to wake up every day to prove … that I was worth something," Spc. Howard said. "Let me tell you, three months later [my leader] had no choice but to give me my license."

Specialist Sarah M. Bailey, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 703rd BSB, 4IBCT, said participating in the women's forum was more beneficial than she had expected.

"[It was] a time for female Soldiers … to talk to senior leadership and kind of get a better grasp of what it is to be a female in the Army and … what you can do to excel," Spc. Bailey said. "I … got a better idea on … how to do those little things that will help me stand out and help me … stay professional in situations, and how to handle work and be in the Army better than I was able to before."

Page last updated Fri January 13th, 2012 at 00:00