Regional Command-South celebrates Women's History Month
March 31, 2013
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Service members and civilians celebrated the contributions women have made to history, culture and society, here at Kandahar Airfield, March 28, in honor of Women's History Month.
The event included readings entitled "Who Am I" by soldiers currently serving their country in support Operation Enduring Freedom.
The theme of the observance was "Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination".
Lt. Col. Yvette Lane-Rose, the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command operations logistics officer, was the guest speaker of the observance. Lane-Rose encouraged women to make their history and help other women make their history.
"Every woman has history changing potential, whether it is great or small," said Lane-Rose.
"I was excited about presenting at the observance because you never hear much about women in history," said Spc. Takera Johnson, a supply specialist for the 92nd Engineers.
"I jumped at the opportunity to participate, I love being a part of anything that honors those that have sacrificed for us to be where we are today," said Staff Sgt. Dana Fischl, lead singer for the Third Infantry Division Band.
Women have served unofficially in the United States Army since 1775 in the roles of cooks and nurses. It was not until the Spanish-American War that women were considered a formal part of the military. Their status, however, was marginal.
In 1943, during World War II, the Women's Army Corps (WAC) was created and they were given full military status. The addition of several women's organizations throughout the military followed, including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), the Navy's WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, known as SPARS (Semper Paratus-Always Ready); and the WASPS (Women Air Force Service Pilots). After the war congress felt that women should be demobilized, but in 1948 President Harry Truman signed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, making women permanent members.
The women who previously served the Army were restricted to certain roles, but as of Sept. 2012 they serve in 95 percent of all Army occupations. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Jan. 24, 2013, that the military will lift its ban on women serving in combat roles, which will open about 230,000 posts, including those on the front lines.
Lane-Rose, Fischl and Johnson encouraged women already serving their country and those who may be looking to serve.
"I encourage women to go ahead and take that risk, if they have the aspiration," said Lane-Rose.
"There are already women in combat. It's been happening for years," said Fischl. "It's nice that they opened up those combat slots that weren't previously open to create more jobs for females."
"Stay motivated!" said Johnson. "There is nothing like having a woman in charge to set good examples."