JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, TX – The U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) hosted a Women’s History Month panel discussion featuring a cross section of leaders from throughout the command at the Academic Support Building on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas on March 3.
Capt. Amaya Vargas, Commander, Bravo Company, 188th Medical Battalion, served as the event moderator. She was joined on stage by an all-female panel of MEDCoE officers and non-commissioned officers: Maj. Elizabeth Sebero, Capt. Cotrena Brown-Johnson, 2nd Lt. Cathryn Guzzwell, Command Sgt. Maj. Deanna Carson, 1st Sgt. Annie Thornton, and Drill Sgt. Sahara McCrary. The panel was an opportunity to highlight mutual experiences and lessons learned from fellow women in the military at the start of Women’s History Month.
Maj. Gen. Dennis P. LeMaster, Commanding General MEDCoE, was among the many distinguished leaders attending the event. The audience included both female and male permanent party, staff and trainees.
The 2021 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.” This theme honors the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others. MEDCoE is committed to ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion across the command and representing what is truly great about the Army and the Nation: the diverse talents of the people serving.
“Women have played vital roles in our Army since the Revolutionary War,” Vargas said in her opening remarks. “Today women serve in every career field in the Army, and are critical members of the Army team according to recent Army statistics.” Approximately eighteen percent of the total Army force is female, and all positions in the Army are open to women. Thirty-eight percent of the Department of the Army Civilian Workforce are women. The Army has accessed or transferred more than 1,400 Female Soldiers into Infantry, Armor, and Fire Support occupations. Thirty-eight women have graduated from Ranger School.
Panel members shared experiences from their own military service and answered question for the audience ranging from leadership, military spouses, assignments, motherhood and children, to the new Army Combat Fitness Test. The leaders discussed differences in roles of women serving in the Army today when compared to the past. While each woman talked about their unique individual experiences, they reflected on the many accomplishments female Soldiers have achieved. Many related how they were able to draw inspiration from the success of female leaders such as retired Lt. Gen. Nadja West, the 44th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and former Commanding General of the United States Army Medical Command and looked forward to seeing many more female role models advance in rank and position in the near future.
MEDCoE plans to host other events in support of Women’s History Month to include an Army Combat Fitness Test workshop on March 8, which is open to all MEDCoE personnel though it will focus on techniques for females to tackle the test, and the formal MEDCoE Women’s History Observance Ceremony on March 18. For details on MEDCoE events, follow www.facebook.com/medicalCoE. For more information on Women’s History Month, visit https://womenshistorymonth.gov/about/