DRAWSKO POMORSKI TRAINING AREA, Poland — Making fresh tracks, the 2nd Battalion "Dreadnaught Battalion," 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, has placed new emphasis on mentorship among their female Soldiers. Approved in May of 2021, 2-34 has started the first Female Mentorship Program within 1ID and held its first meeting in Poland, on Sept. 1.
The 2-34’s Female Mentorship Program guides and inspires Soldiers to establish realistic goals, address issues and gain knowledge of various aspects of their lives. By assisting junior enlisted Soldiers through issues, they will learn to have the critical thinking skills necessary for professional and personal growth while in the military. Interpretation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving techniques are useful tools that outweigh reacting out of emotion when confronting a problem.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lauren Martinez, a tank platoon leader with Alpha Company “Orphans,” 2-34, recently became the president of the Female Mentorship Program while deployed.
“The Female Mentorship Program is a space for female leaders to come together and be able to invest in one another,” Martinez said. “Senior NCOs and officers alike can provide guidance and insight into navigating the Army by providing help in finding more opportunities, as well as assist females in their future careers. Females mentoring one another in our profession allows for more opportunities for females to be in leadership roles in the future.”
That willingness to assist has established an esprit de corps and active involvement among both leaders and Soldiers within the group. It is evident to see a shared sense of purpose with their willingness to encourage and motivate each other no matter the challenge. Following their first meeting in Poland, group members participated in a 9/11 ruck march, a Polish taught self-defense class and cultural exchange with female Polish soldiers, all in September.
The culture exchange involved a question and answer session between the two militaries to discuss likenesses and differences. Soldiers of both militaries used the opportunity to share their experiences, build friendships and exchange unit patches.
U.S. Army Spc. Patricia Corpuz, a supply specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, attended the cultural exchange at Forward Operating Site Poznań in Poznań, Poland, Sept. 14.
“There was an understanding that we all are in it together and go through mostly the same hardships,” Corpuz said. “It’s a relief to have people that share the same ideas as you.”
Those same ideas and mentorship mentality have identified leaders who are approachable and willing to assist in varied areas of knowledge. Whether a junior enlisted Soldier needs help training for the Army Combat Fitness Test, writing a college paper, or advice on being a single parent in the military, an Army leader is available.
U.S. Army Spc. Kennedy Williams, an information technology specialist with HHC, 2-34, attended the Polish-taught self-defense class in Oleszno, Sept. 8.
“Through networking, advocacy and guidance, the program introduces a space to foster positive growth and aid Soldiers in molding their potential, which can then be poured into developing their fellow Soldiers,” Williams said. “The camaraderie experienced in the program is inclusive and diverse and offers a wide range of amazing tools to help navigate a career as a woman in the Army.”
That camaraderie ensures common ground among junior enlisted, NCOs and officers to foster a positive environment where all Soldiers feel welcome. Army leaders should facilitate a climate that treats everyone equally, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, creed, or religious belief. Fostering a positive climate begins with a leader’s personal example.
Leaders who inherently live up to the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos display the character and actions that set a positive example. They put the organization and junior enlisted above personal self-interest, career, and comfort.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alishea Anderson, the senior logistician for 2-34 and vice president of the Female Mentorship Program, sees the program as a chance to make a difference among junior enlisted Soldiers.
“I’m happy to be a part of this mentorship program with some of the new changes across the Army to include women serving in combat MOSs; it’s definitely needed,” Anderson said. “In today’s Army, we cannot facilitate change unless issues are identified. This platform allows that change.”
Mentoring is a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person serves as a guide, role model, teacher and sponsor for a less experienced person. The mentorship program aids Soldiers who aspire to be better leaders themselves and progress in their military career personally and professionally.
The U.S. Army holds a heavy emphasis on mentorship. Army Doctrine Publication 6-22 states that “it is the individual professional responsibility of all leaders to develop their subordinates as leaders. All Army leaders have a duty to prepare subordinates for responsibilities at the next level.”
An ideal Army leader serves as a role model through strong intellect, professional competence, and moral character. Army leaders can be both teachers and coaches, who recognize that organizations built on mutual trust and confidence accomplish missions as a team. Through the Female Mentorship Program, 2-34 aims to build future leaders who accomplish the mission and put people first.