FORT MCNAIR, DC - In observance of Women’s History Month, the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JTF-NCR/USAMDW) hosted a special program featuring guest speaker, Rear Adm. Nancy S. Lacore at the National Defense University’s (NDU) Lincoln Auditorium, Friday, March 17, 2023.
This year's theme, "Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories," acknowledges the pioneering women, past and present, as important contributors to the achievements of the military services and civilian workforce. In a Feb. 27 memo, Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness noted that the military recognizes the accomplishments of women in the department and their contributions to national security which helps maximize the department's warfighting capabilities.
“My achievements in the Navy rest upon a solid foundation from those who came before me. There are people, men and women alike, who paved the way for others like me to find our path to success in the Navy,” said Lacore. “I am grateful for the foresight, the courage, and the determination of these men and women, and I constantly remind myself that I stand on their shoulders with each step in my career.”
The commemorative program included special musical selections from The U.S. Army Band (TUSAB). Honored guests, Sgt. Cinthia Ramirez and Maj. Shayne Haver, both who work in combat arms career field and shared their personal reflections as women in the military operating in spaces that the Army has opened to women in recent years.
“I am the first female active-duty master gunner,” said Ramirez of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into a combat MOS and my leadership didn’t really know how to interact with females at the time and I think it was challenging for both the women and the males in our unit and our company to have integration.”
Ramirez went on to share her apprehensions and subsequent exposure to the role of a master gunner, her training experience, and the current state of her work environment. “I know that it’s been challenging when I first joined the military, but I think in recent days it’s actually been a lot easier to get through schools and for leadership to treat us the same.”
“It’s challenging for everyone to change their minds to do something different, and different doesn’t have to be bad,” said Haver, one of the two first women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School and honored on the 2016 Fortune magazine's list of the World's Greatest Leaders. “I have encountered challenges but have not had to fight any harder than anyone else to get into the arena for which I have qualified for.”
All three speakers spoke to the challenges faced and overcome by women in the past as the reason they can succeed today. They also noted shared gratitude for those efforts that have led to the more diverse military of today.
“I’m humbled by my experience that was afforded me because of the many women and men that have gone before and championed for us,” said Haver. “We owe a great deal of gratitude to those who have laid the groundwork. We are responsible for carrying their efforts forward into our spheres of influence.”
The program went onto musical selections from TUSAB and ended with remarks from Lacore. Lacore issued a call to action for all people to do their best and press forward to enable others to reach their greatest potential.
“We need diversity that’s visible, like gender and ethnicity, because juniors need to see leaders in higher positions that look like them.” said Lacore. “As the saying goes: if you can see it, you can be it.”
For more information, check out these resources: https://www.army.mil/women/; Special Observances (defenseculture.mil); and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (opm.gov).