By Sgt. 1st Class Alyn-Michael Macleod, 99th Regional Support Public AffairsMarch 15, 2011
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST - Since the formation of the Women's Army Corps in the 1940s, women have faced many challenges and contributed greatly to the U.S. Army through their accomplishments.
The 99th Regional Support Command will highlight one of its many talented and professional women throughout the month of March in recognition of Women's History Month.
Women's History Month began March 1 and continues throughout the month. The national and Department of Defense theme is "Our History is Our Strength" and "Army Strong" has never been a more apropos motto when referring to our women warriors. They have been a major part of the Army's history since its inception and we have continued to honor their service.
This week, Master Sgt. Trenest M. Abrams, a New Orleans native, will be the first in a series of women honored in March.
Abrams is currently the chief paralegal non-commissioned officer in charge for the 99th RSC Office of Staff Judge Advocate.
Why did you join the Army/Army Reserve'
I joined the Army because I wanted to be independent and adventurous. More importantly, I joined because I didn't want my parents to have to worry about struggling to come up with money to pay for college or to have to worry about taking care of me once I graduated from high school. That was my original reason.
The reason why I stayed is because I learned to love the Army's way of life. The discipline, the teamwork, the loyalty, the integrity, the values that the Army stands for. I realized that this was unlike any other organization in the world and I have learned so much and I have been blessed to see so much of the world during my journey.
It is where I met my husband of almost 20 years and we have had most of those adventures together. A lot of what I have in my life today, I owe to the Army. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
My one regret is that I have missed out on significant family events because I was usually too far away or on an important mission and couldn't attend, but my family loves me, they understand why I can't always be there, and they are very proud of me, so knowing that makes it a little bit better.
It will be tough to say good-bye in the next couple of years, but I know that I have done all that I can do as a Soldier and I have no regrets as far as my career is concerned.
When it's time to pass on the gauntlet, I will do it with a smile.
Do you have any deployment experience, and if so where and what did you do'
I was mobilized at Fort Gordon for 11 months, and I worked with the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade assisting several battalions with legal issues in my capacity as a paralegal NCO for the 345th MI BN.
Do you feel like you are making an impact on the community'
Not as much as I would like to. It's just my husband and me and we live on Fort Dix. When
we lived in Georgia, we started an association in our community and we spearheaded a project to have a beautiful entry-way built that labeled our community as it was meant to me labeled.
The builder had previously placed a simple cardboard sign up and we decided that we deserved much better, especially since most of the homes in the neighborhood were selling for well over $140-170 (This is Georgia, not Jersey, back in the late '90s early 2000s).
We had meetings and raised money and got people in the neighborhood to start caring about where we lived. We also hosted a bar-b-que once a year for the entire community to bring everyone together to get to know each other so that we wouldn't be strangers to each other. We were very involved there, we just have had the opportunity to do that here.
Do you feel like you are making a difference in the Army Reserve'
I'd like to think that I am. I try to anyway.
Are there any women that you look up to'
First of all, I looked up to my mother. She was the strongest, bravest, wisest woman I knew. If I am half the woman she was (God rest her soul), I will be a great person.
Some of the other women that I admire is the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered since joining the Army'
It's been a challenge to transition from old school Army to modern day Army. Meaning, back in the day, Soldiers were much more disciplined than they are today, when junior Soldiers approached senior Soldiers, they were automatically at parade rest. They didn't speak unless they were spoken to. It wasn't about fear, it was about respect and that is the Army that I entered, but it isn't the Army that I am leaving behind. I have watched it change a lot over the years and I am not saying that one way is better than another way, it's just different, so one just was to adjust to a different way of doing things. For me, I finally had to break down in the last year or so and allow texting to be added to my cell phone because today's Soldiers won't pick up the phone, but they will send you about 100 texts throughout the day. That is how they communicate, so that is how they dragged this old fossil out of the dark ages because if that is the only way to communicate with my Soldiers, then so be it.
What is the most rewarding experience you have had in the Army and why'
One of the most rewarding experiences I have had was when a Soldier, who was struggling with an APFT event, came to me to ask for help. I worked with him and over time he passed the APFT, and never looked back. He went on to BNCOC, Jump School, and was promoted in the primary zone on his first look. I am so proud of that Soldier because he recognized that he needed help and he put in the time and effort needed to succeed. He showed up wherever and whenever I told him to, on time, every time. He credits me with the turnaround, but he did the work, I was just there to assist. He is proof that any Soldier can be successful at whatever they want to do if they put in the time and effort.