Celebrate Women’s achievements, contributions

By CourtesyMarch 15, 2023

Celebrate Women’s achievements, contributions
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Anita Kimbrough, Fort Polk’s Dental Activity Command commander, represents military service during Women's History Month. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL
Celebrate Women’s achievements, contributions
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Evee Gardner, spouse of Brig. Gen. David W. Gardner, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, represents the selfless service of military spouses during Women's History Month. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL



Public Affairs Office

FORT POLK, La. — March is Women’s History Month and the Army is doing its part to recognize the historic achievements of women who have supported and defended the nation. This month’s theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” This reminds all who serve that the capabilities and hard work women have brought to the table have made the Army stronger.

As the nation progresses, so do opportunities for women. Looking back, you can see the progress that has been made. It is crucial to recognize the hard work of the women throughout history who changed the world.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Stanton was an abolitionist, human rights activist and author. She was the founder of the National Women’s Suffrage Association from the 1840s to early 1900s and worked with other activists such as Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony to helped organize movements for women’s rights that led to women’s suffrage. She advocated for women to own property, have voting rights and for fairer divorce laws.

Lt. Col. Charity Adams

Adams was the highest-ranking Black woman officer to serve during World War II. She influenced Black women to succeed in the military. Adams applied for entry into the Women’s Auxiliary Corps in 1942. The WAC marked the beginning of a new era for the Army. It was the gateway that led women to continue to serve today, and now in combat roles.

Adams deployed to Europe and led the first Black WAC unit, the 6888th Central Postal Battalion. Expected to sort out millions of letters in six months, the unit did it in three. Her troops worked seven days a week to ensure mail would be received. Without news of what was going on back home, morale was low for Soldiers on the frontlines. Adams and her troops helped facilitate a better environment for the Soldiers who were in the battle.

Col. Anita Kimbrough, Fort Polk’s Dental Activity Command

Kimbrough finished dental school in 1995 and continued to work as a dentist before enlisting.

In 2008 her family, like many others were affected by the recession. She enlisted in 2010 to progress in her career and support her family.

She received a letter in the mail that read, “Be All You Can Be,” a motto that is being reintroduced today.

Dentists were needed and she took it upon herself to join. “Going to war didn’t strike any fear in me. I prepared myself mentally to meet those challenges,” Kimbrough said.

Her mentors are Col. Tawana McGee, the first Black woman oral surgeon in the Army and Lt. Gen. Nadja West, the first Black woman surgeon general in the Army.

“Had I not seen someone who looks like me, a dentist, a surgeon, then it would have been more difficult for me to see that I can overcome obstacles to make it to where they are,” Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough believes it’s important for women to serve because they bring different perspectives and backgrounds to share and approach situations differently.

“How are we supposed to serve a diverse nation if we’re not diverse ourselves,” Kimbrough said.

She is happy to be part of the fighting force and continues to contribute to the nation and her family.

“Women are part of every fabric of life. To have women serve in roles that they originally could not serve in matters. We are here to pave the way for the young ladies that see the call to arms. We bring value to everything that exists in the world including the military,” Kimbrough said.

Julia Moore

Though not in the military, Moore was a great leader in the installations she and her husband Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, were stationed at. She experienced firsthand the hardships spouses and children faced while Soldiers served. When her husband returned from deployments, she felt guilt that others didn’t get the chance to welcome theirs home. At the time, there was not a system set in place to notify Families of fallen Soldiers, only a telegram. Moore took it upon herself to begin riding with cab drivers to assist with delivering the heartbreaking news. She grieved with the Families and attended funerals of her husband’s fallen men. The Department of Defense recognized her selfless service and adopted a better notification system.

Today an officer accompanied by a chaplain formally delivers the news to Families. She advocated for Army Community Services that are now offered on all Army installations.

Her efforts improved quality of life for families.

Evee Gardner, spouse of Brig. Gen. David W. Gardner, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general

Gardner serves the Soldiers and Families of Fort Polk. She graduated in 1994 from Barnard College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history.

“When the nation was being founded, it was Abigail Adams who said to her husband, please don’t forget the ladies,” Gardner said.

Gardner has made it her goal to help Families at all installations. When she first arrived to her first duty station, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a spouse reached out to her to welcome her. This set the tone for how she wanted to impact other spouses and Families.

Gardner recalls a quote she kept from a mentor who was also a military spouse. “Look to your left and look to your right. Everyone in the room is here because they love a Soldier. What a powerful connection to share,” Gardner said. “At the heart of everything is love. We’re all here for that reason. Whatever issues or problems arise, you come back to that core value of I’m here because I love and support a Soldier and we going to make this community better for everyone,” Gardner said.

Gardner attends the newcomers welcome brief each month to greet and connect with everyone the Fort Polk community. She does outreach for Families and spouses and has been working to improve the way news is put out to Families.

She believes supporting women’s choices this month is a way to celebrate. “It’s important that women support each other’s choices rather than tear each other down,” Gardner said.

She believes women can do it all, but it’s important to stay unified. Another way to commemorate the month is through education.

“I share with my daughter that it’s important to be grateful for the rights she has because my mother was restricted. I tell her look at the freedom she has. The things you do now you couldn’t do 40-50 years ago,” Gardner said.

Gardner has made an Army forever family in the 28 years she’s served as a spouse. She continues to advocate for Families and create a better environment for everyone.

When looking into America’s history, be sure to not discount the women who shaped the nation.