By Paula NardellaMarch 30, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Pritchett was the guest speaker this year at Fort Riley's annual Women's History Month Observance at Riley's Conference Center.
Currently serving as the senior enlisted leader of the U.S. Army Element Central Command, she has worn many hats during her time in the Army, which have included recruiter, drill sergeant, Fort Leavenworth command sergeant major and Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan command sergeant major, to name a few.
"Being in Afghanistan is probably one of the highlights that I'll remember out of everything that I've done," she said.
During her speech, Pritchett said in the future she believes there will be a female in the position of command sergeant major of the Army as well as women in the infantry.
She also described how the Army began to look at women in uniform not primarily as women, but first and foremost as Soldiers.
"There's two ways you can break the glass ceiling, you can take your high heel off and you can hit it and shatter the hell out of it, or you can be a glass cutter," Pritchett said, quoting her role model, Pat Summitt, head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team.
"I want to think that I'm like Pat Summitt, a glass cutter."
After a 36-year career as a Soldier, Pritchett soon will retire, but before she does, she will be inducted into the Army Women's Hall of Fame on March 24.
"I just about dropped the phone," Pritchett said about getting the call that she was going to be one of the first two inductees into the hall of fame.
She said she doesn't think of herself as being a trailblazer but instead gives credit to women in the Army who came before her. According to Pritchett, without those women setting the precedent, she wouldn't have been given the chance to accomplish so much.
At the end of her presentation, Pritchett was presented with a framed enlarged program as a gift by 1st Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Champagne.
Entertainment for the event was provided by Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Stuart, 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas. Stuart, who used to work at Irwin Army Community Hospital, said the poem he composed and recited was inspired by his mother and grandmother.