By Jacqueline LeekerMarch 5, 2009
Fort Belvoir's first female commander, retired Brig. Gen. Evelyn Foote, visited Belvoir on Tuesday to attend the post's Women's History Month observance and to see how things have changed in the past 20 years.
Foote was the deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Military District of Washington, and concurrently commanding general of Fort Belvoir from July 1988 to September 1989.
Today, she is an active spokesperson for the Army and other organizations concerning the role of women in the military.
Her morning began by touring post headquarters with Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt. She then attended the women's history observance at the Officers Club where an all-female color guard of Soldiers from Dewitt Army Community Hospital and the 12th Aviation Battalion presented the colors.
Foote concluded the ceremony telling the audience, "I have had a 45 year love affair with Fort Belvoir. This is fitting because 66 years ago this March Fort Belvoir welcomed the first Women's Army Corps."
Foote said she decided to join the army when she was blocked at every attempt to work for the FBI, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. They wanted to give her clerical work. But she wasn't interested. Newspapers wanted her to cover fashion. She said the Army presented a better opportunity.
Her advice for women joining the military or who are in the military is to "do every job you receive to the absolute best of your ability. If you want it, do it, got for it, shoot for it. Never stop learning.
"If you want to get to the top, you need to take high-risk jobs, jobs with long hours, and do those jobs well. I did 3 tours in the pentagon," Foote said.
Following the observance Foote visited the Warrior in Transition Unit.
Sgt. 1st Class Walter Henry introduced Foote to Soldiers in the WTU and the personnel who work there.
"This isn't something where we give pills and band-aids, and kick them out," Henry said.
Henry pointed out the Sprit of Dewitt Pledge, culture of excellence, and the Army Warrior Health Care Covenant hanging on the wall. Foote said she was happy to see this was an Army-wide initiative.
Further down the hall Henry showed Foote around his office, which used to be hers. The room had changed quite a bit in the 20 plus years since she was there.
One of the biggest changes on Belvoir since Foote's command has been housing.
Following the WTU visit, Foote toured the Welcome center, a townhouse and a neighborhood center, where she was educated about the "Green" initiatives used in creating new living
spaces, maintenance, and the utility billing