Over 30 Troopers from the Regimental Support Squadron gained first-hand mentorship during a virtual session from a female general that served with the Brave Rifles at Fort Hood, Texas.
Brig. Gen. Kristin French (Ret.) served as a Lt. Col. in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as a commander for RSS during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was the first female officer to command a cavalry squadron in combat and she holds a place in the Regiment Museum at Fort Hood, Texas. French was commissioned from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986 as a quartermaster officer and served for 29 years in the Army. She served dual military with her husband, and their first assignments were at Fort Hood. She served under the 13th Support Command, and her husband served in the 1st Cavalry Division. When French served as Muleskinner 6 at the 3ACR from 2003-2004 at Fort Carson, Colorado, the current RSS Commander, Lt. Col. Danilo Green, served under her as a Platoon Leader.
French now serves as the Deputy Director for Log Operations at the Defense Logistics Agency in Washington D.C. and says that she enjoys being able to take time when available to provide mentorship for Soldiers and especially likes to discuss ways to help females in the Army.
"Personal accountability and responsibility are what counts," French said. "…as a female, you will face obstacles in the Army, and first impressions count. They make everlasting impressions."
French discussed a wide variety of topics with the group, including building confidence and being confident in your job, work, life, balance, and that it's ok to make mistakes because we learn from them. She also discussed the challenges of dual military and having a family to care for.
Capt. Szuzume Hendrickson, a Medical Service Officer from RSS, had the inspiration to set up the virtual meeting as part of the Squadron's Sisters in Arms Program.
"I'm currently deciding whether to stay in or get out, and I wanted to hear from a senior female leader and what made her successful," Hendrickson said. "I am also dual military and wanted to hear someone else's views on how they balanced their military life."
Spc. Brianna Dotson, an 88M Motor Transport Operator with Muleskinner from Logan, West Virginia, said the meeting was very empowering especially considering that French was often the only female in the units where she served.
"It was very inspiring, and I aspire to be a 1st Sgt. at some point in my career, and I enjoyed hearing her story," Dotson said. "It helped to hear the things that she went through and how she balanced her life. I have things I am going through in my life, and it helped to hear how she did things."
Sgt. Jessica Knight, an 88M from Gary, Indiana, said that she has Soldiers who inspire her every day. It was motivating to see a retired leader take time out of her day to help Soldiers and give them a different perspective.
"I could see that people in the room were getting a new perspective and some reality checks as a female," Knight said. "Time has changed, and now there is a new perspective on how females are seen in the Army. We are not seen as different now, but more as an equal, and it was interesting to hear from a female leader. She continually motivated us and inspired us, and it was greatly appreciated."