CASERMA EDERLE, Italy - The Vicenza Military Community celebrated Women's Equality Day with an event at the Golden Lion Aug. 23.

The event, hosted by U.S. Army Africa and the VMC Equal Opportunity Office, featured guest speaker Chief Warrant Officer 5 Anita Williams, USARAF, G-4.

Before Williams' speech, USARAF Commander Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., addressed the audience, highlighting the importance and progress made by American women and their support throughout the years in the Army since the Civil War.

After the commander's observations, Williams opened her speech with a quote: "There is no force equal to that of a determined woman."

"For centuries, we have gone to great measures to prove that with a little determination we can accomplish anything we want. A trailblazer laid the foundation for all military women. In 1781, Deborah Sampson set out on a mission that would give all military women the strength to laugh when they hear the words, 'You will never make it,'" said Williams.
Williams said she decided to join the Army when she was 20 years old and volunteered to go to combat.

She explained that a woman in the military is multitasker, and how, during the day and/or a deployment, "She not only is a Soldier, but also a wife, mother, teacher, chauffer, doctor, nurse, confidant and let's not forget, mentor."

Her first deployment, Operation Desert Storm, was her first time away from home. It was followed by many others including the one in Afghanistan, where she served another 13 months holding down different jobs in combat, while still fulfilling the various roles in her family.

"As many of you in the audience, I was not excused from being a mother, wife, teacher and disciplinarian," Williams added.

In her closing remarks, she said, "I would like to thank Deborah Sampson for paving the way for all of the women who are allowed to serve their country in all branches of the military based on ability and not gender, as well as every female who continues to serve and support this great country."

Lt. Col. Rob Shaw, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), presented a certificate of appreciation to Williams, and a cake-cutting ceremony concluded the observance.