NATICK, Mass. -- The strength, perseverance and achievements of women were on full display at the Women's History Month observance, hosted by the Combat Capabilities Development Command-Soldier Center, or CCDC-Soldier Center, on March 11.
The CCDC-Soldier Center supports the Soldier Lethality-Cross Functional Team, or SL-CFT, priorities. The center's science and engineering expertise is combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance optimization, readiness, lethality, and synthetic training environments.
On March 11, Team Natick began the day with the raising of the flag by an all-female Soldier flag detail, followed later in the morning by a Women's History Month event held in Hunter Auditorium. The event was open to the entire Natick Soldier Systems Center workforce.
Dr. Melissa Flagg, lead, Army Research Laboratory Northeast, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command-Army Research Laboratory, was the esteemed guest speaker at the event. The program also included performances by the a cappella ensemble, the Notables, and a hula hoop performance group, the Sacred Circle Sisters.
Capt. Erika Andresen, command judge advocate for the CCDC-Soldier Center, served as the event's master of ceremonies. Staff Sgt. Letarsha Massey, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, sang a moving rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Cynthia Blackwell, a project director at the CCDC-Soldier Center, as well as a minister, gave the invocation.
During her talk, Flagg praised the accomplishments of the workforce, noting that Natick's work helps save the lives of Soldiers. She said that members of the workforce should take time to celebrate their past accomplishments.
"Soldiers are alive because of what you do," said Flagg. "We need to celebrate the amazing things you've accomplished."
At the same time, however, she noted that the world has changed radically and that we all must look to solve new problems with bold, new solutions.
"We need to look at the world in a way that makes us win," said Flagg.
Douglas A. Tamilio, the director of the CCDC-Soldier Center, said that Dr. Flagg had broken ground in many institutions and that the CCDC-Soldier Center was very lucky to have her for this event.
"Dr. Flagg has served at the highest levels of DOD," said Tamilio. "You will not find anyone more energetic and dedicated."
The event also showcased inspiring quotes from Team Natick's workforce. The quotes were included in the event's program, as well as in a slideshow/musical montage. In the quotes, Natick women shared their wisdom and lessons learned and discussed the challenges faced by women leaders.
Betty A. Davis, branch chief of Science and Technology in the Combat Feeding Directorate at the CCDC-Soldier Center, was one of the many women leaders quoted in the event's program. Her sentiments summed up the spirit of the day.
"The best advice I can give for women working here is to persevere even in times of adversity and believe in yourself," said Davis. "Everyone -- regardless of sex, race, age, or ethnicity -- must believe that what they are doing contributes to the success and readiness of the warfighter and no one contribution is too small. Believe in yourself and you will go far!"