By Rob Schuette, Fort McCoy Public AffairsMarch 24, 2011
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- People don't have to look far for history; they are living and creating their own history each day, said Command Sgt. Maj. Mary K. Lemburg.
Lemburg, the command sergeant major for the 646th Regional Support Group, was the guest speaker at the installation's March 17 observance of Women's History Month.
Master Sgt. Claudia Simpson, the Fort McCoy Equal Opportunity adviser, began the program by showing a photographic video presentation of women who have worked at Fort McCoy.
Lemburg has seen and met many of them during her 32-year military career, which includes a number of two-week training sessions at Fort McCoy and mobilization training in 2004 as a member of the 376th Finance Battalion, which was preparing to deploy.
In her civilian career, Lemburg also has become part of Fort McCoy's history. She is the chief of health services at the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC). The 88th RSC relocated to the installation from Fort Snelling, Minn., as a result of a Base Realignment and Closure action.
Lemburg prepared her presentation based on the 2011 Women's History Month theme "Our History is Our Strength."
"Our shared history unites Families, communities and nations," Lemburg said. "Although women's history is intertwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religion, economic, and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history."
Women have played and continue to play a crucial role throughout U.S. history, she said, citing the labor, women's suffrage, civil rights, women's rights and the environmental movements.
Knowing women's stories provides essential role models for everyone, she said. Role models are needed to face the changes and challenges of the 21st century.
Like many other women, Lemburg can trace her success to her grandmothers and mother. "I hold up the women in my history as the ultimate role models."
One of her grandmothers kept an immaculate house and a garden whose produce wound up in many households. The other grandmother with teacher's credentials had to quit her job when she got married.
After being widowed, this grandmother went back to school, graduated with a teaching degree at the age of 55 and taught until age 70.
"The history of my mother is as the strongest of women," Lemburg said. "My earliest memories of her include telling me I could do anything I set my mind to."
Today, Lemburg passes the legacy to her children and her grandchildren. She took one of her grandsons to the U.S. Army's Women's Museum, which has moved from Fort McClellan, Ala., to Fort Lee, Va. He was 11 and amazed by everything Army women have accomplished.
"All my grandsons love to talk to me about my Army adventures because it makes their grandmother look cool," Lemburg said. "My history will be their strength."
Women continue to make headway in the Army, including being selected as the 2010 Soldier of the Year.
Lemburg said that was no easy feat considering the winner had to compete with other Soldiers doing the Army Warrior tasks.
For more information about ethnic observances in the Fort McCoy community, call Simpson at 608-388-3246.