Ansbach, Germany (March 24, 2015) -- The Ansbach community celebrated Women's History Month with an observance at the Von Steuben Community Center Wednesday.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade commander, Col. Vincent H. Torza, introduced the guest speaker, Col. Laura A. Potter, deputy chief of staff and G6 of U.S. Army Europe.
"Women serving in our armed forces today give us an incredible advantage against our enemy," Torza said. "They provide something that other forces just can't tap into, and we would be foolish to not continue to leverage all that expertise, all that knowledge."
Potter explained that looking at history "tells us more at how we look at the present."
She talked about the beginning when women integrated in the U.S. military, starting with the establishment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942. The WAAC was turned into the Women's Army Corps in 1943.
Potter also described her own career journey in the Army and shared some personal stories with the audience. She once was chosen to lead a team of six male Soldiers on a mission in Afghanistan, all of different nationalities from her and of higher rank, which raised some eyebrows with their counterparts of other nations' armies.
She explained to the female Soldiers at the event Wednesday that they are a significant part of the strategic message when the U.S. military comes in contact with their counterparts, just by being respected by their fellow male Soldiers.
"The evolution of women in our great Army is just as much an evolution of the armies of our counterparts," Potter said.
Jodee Waters, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade victim advocate, helped set up the event together with the Sister in Arms program. She explained the purpose of Women's History Month celebrations.
"It is an event to celebrate everything that women have given through their service, including not only the Soldiers that have served in the past, but also those who will serve in the future," Waters said. "There are so many women that have served for this great nation, and this is a great way to honor them and look at where we go from here."
Before Potter's remarks, a panel of four female Soldiers was introduced to the audience. The four service members all serve in the Ansbach community in different roles, including weather forecaster or Apache pilot.
"In every war I've ever fought, women have contributed in some way, so being a part of this occasion is a pleasure," said Staff Sgt. Carol Newman, one of the panelists.
Torza thanked Potter for her remarks; he also presented her and the four panel members a certificate. The event was concluded with a question and answer session and personal one-on-one conversations with the guest speaker and the panel members.