By 1st Lt. Drew BiddickJanuary 5, 2011
BAGHDAD - Being a female Soldier in a combat zone comes with unique challenges. To facilitate dialogue regarding physical health, personal safety, and the emotional, social and spiritual needs common to deployed women, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center held a forum Dec. 17 to address those concerns.
"Female Soldiers benefit from being afforded the chance to discuss these topics and learn from one another, because they are better enabled to remain strong throughout the deployment," said Lt. Col. Shilisa Geter, commander of Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade.
During the forum, Geter talked about the emotional and social components of life as a deployed female Solider. Drawing on experiences from previous deployments, as well as those of the other 35 women in attendance, Soldiers discussed some of the potential pitfalls that come with being a female in a deployed environment.
Capt. Jason Palmer, chaplain with Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, generated conversation in three areas of spiritual fitness: mentorship, accountability and fellowship.
"Seeing mentorship in action was such an encouragement," said Capt. Klara Wright, commander of Company A, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade. "Just by getting together and discussing these critical topics, a great service was done for our female Soldiers."
Palmer was followed by Capt. Letrenda Miles, physician assistant with Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade. Miles discussed the physical demands and health issues associated with operating in a deployed environment.
"I wish I'd have had a similar forum during my first four deployments," Miles said. "Today was a real opportunity for women to learn about common concerns, especially for those on their first deployment."
Prior to breaking for lunch, the group heard from a representative from a nearby Criminal Investigation Division office who offered some practical advice based on crime statistics, personal safety tips and behaviors that help prevent sexual assault.
By the end of the event, participants were able to reflect on each of the pillars making up the Army's Comprehensive Solider Fitness model: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family strength. In the future, the Special Troops Brigade "Griffins" of 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade plan to hold more events like this, each having different areas of focus.