CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Every March, our nation and U.S. Army recognize the contributions and stories about women’s achievements throughout Women’s History Month.
Women in the Army have been breaking barriers, with all military occupations now open to them. Some operations require elements to be comprised solely of women, such as a female engagement team.
The 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s Operational Command Post now boasts an all-female public affairs team with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
As the youngest member of the team and the only, visual information specialist, I take on the responsibility of capturing photos and videos to tell the Army story.
I was born in Las Vegas and knew I wanted to join the military since I was in sixth grade. I was still in high school when I told my family I wanted to join the Army. My mom was very supportive, but my dad wasn’t. He tried to scare me with stories, which obviously didn’t work because I’m here now.
I enlisted in the Army in August 2020 to train as a utilities equipment repairer but reclassified to be a visual information specialist in May 2021. I have enjoyed and appreciated my experiences as a combat photographer and videographer. I’ve been able to see and do things that Soldiers who’ve been in longer than me haven’t experienced.
I'm proud to take photos and write articles, especially about women from different parts of the world working and learning together.
For example, Task Force Spartan hosted self-defense classes for female Kuwaitis, and it was an amazing feeling to highlight the partnership that the U.S. Army and Kuwait continue to sustain. As the only all-female public affairs team in the U.S. Army Central area of operation, and due to the nature of the event, we were the only team with female public affairs members able to provide public affairs support.
I want to introduce you to the other two members of the 1st TSC-OCP public affairs office.
Capt. Katherine Alegado, public affairs officer with the 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, is another key member of our all-female public affairs team. She immigrated to the United States from the Philippines when she was three.
She believes that people who immigrate to the United States come to better their lives.
“Fast forward to being a public affairs officer; it’s beautiful knowing that I can highlight my own culture of the many Filipinos, Asian American, and immigrants throughout the world who come into the U.S. to seek better opportunities,” Alegado explained. “Like the opportunities that the Army provides.”
“You could be a man or a woman. All you need is to have that passion for telling a story and capturing a moment.”
The final member of our unique team is Capt. Janeen Phelps, 143rd ESC public affairs officer, was also born and raised in Las Vegas.
Before joining the Army, Phelps auditioned for a very popular televised music competition. She remembers getting to the executive producers and singing for them.
“They told me that they thought I had a great voice, but they were not going to select me because I did not fit the mold’ of who they wanted to see win the competition,” she explained. Phelps was devastated.
“Now, almost 20 years later, I am on a U.S. Army poster and part of a recruiting campaign that is capitalizing on the fact that my civilian career was what led me to join the military, and it’s being used as an asset,” she explained.
Phelps realized that someone else’s no can be a whole organization’s yes.
Serving is also a tradition in her family.
“My father, grandfathers, and uncles all served in the Army,” Phelps said. “However, I wasn’t really encouraged to join the military. My father just wanted me to finish college.”
“After 10 years, my father has become very supportive, knowing that I have carved a path full of opportunities,” she said.
Women serve around the world, telling the Army story. The slogan, “Be All You Can Be” means that everyone can maximize their potential. The Army offers unlimited possibilities to discover your passions, pursue your purpose and build a lifelong community.