FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY (June 2, 2016) -- After intensive training on Fort Knox May 18-19, the 43 female U.S. Army Recruiting Command Soldiers selected for the Female Engagement Team are now ready to give presentations about the benefits Army service offers female Soldiers.
Formed to address and tackle head-on concerns some women have about joining the Army, team members will appear in groups of five, telling their Army stories to audiences across the country.
"What we have seen from studies, is there is a large segment of the female market who are not confident in their abilities to complete basic training or even serve in the armed services," said Conal Timberlake, a human resources specialist with USAREC G3/5, the command's office for planning and development.
"So with these females telling their Army story, saying "this is where I come from, this is what I did in the Army, these are some of my benefits, and here are my achievements and accomplishments - I'm successful,' we can hopefully squash some of those perceptions."
Out of hundreds who volunteered for the program, members were evenly chosen from each brigade and headquarters earlier this month. Brig. Gen. Donna Martin, USAREC deputy commanding general, told the team members they are the right Soldiers for this mission.
"I have faith that you'll do a great job," Martin said. "You are trailblazers, because a trailblazer is someone who sets the path for others and that's exactly what you're doing. You have been so successful as women in the military that our senior leaders are saying "why can't women do everything?' And that's why it is so important that you do this."
Martin said it's important to tap into the female market since women make up 51 percent of the population.
Team members were taught to conduct on-camera interviews and developed six-minute presentations describing how they have achieved many of their life goals while serving in the Army. Many of the presentations touched on their socioeconomic backgrounds, why they chose their particular career specialties, their experiences while serving in their career fields, how the Army supports their families or single lifestyles, and the benefits they've earned through Army service.
The FET presentations will last 30 minutes, with each member speaking six minutes on a different topic concerning Army service.
Conal said this team approach will be more effective than the typical one-on-one engagements that happen at routine events, because the recruiters will be engaging carefully selected, larger audiences in a genuine way, with time allotted for question and answer sessions.
Staff Sgt. Stacy Torchio, Charleston, West Virginia Company, volunteered because she said she wants to help influence young women to put their best feet forward.
"Growing up I had no motivation, no plans, I was told I was just a substandard person, and I wanted something more," Torchio said. "It was important for me to prove myself to me. It's important for me to share that message.
"A lot of people don't know what it's like to be in the military - you can affect people's lives. My dad always said to me, "The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is."
Conal said the FET will begin giving presentations in June.