Congresswoman visits Schofield for Women’s History Month

| April 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks of her experiences as a politician and a Soldier in the Hawaii National Guard during the Women's History Month observance at the Tropics Warrior Zone, March 27. The event was held to recognize and honor the contributions and accomplishments of female Soldiers, past, present and future.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks of her experiences as a politician and a Soldier in the Hawaii National Guard during the Women’s History Month observance at the Tropics Warrior Zone, March 27. The event was held to recognize and honor the contributions and accomplishments of female Soldiers, past, present and future.

Story and photos by
Sgt. Ariana Cary
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The seats in the Tropics Warrior Zone, here, were filling up fast, with more chairs needing to be pulled out and set up in the aisles.

By the time U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took the stage, Soldiers were standing in every free space available.

The 25th Infantry Division hosted a Women’s History Month observance, March 27, to honor women’s contributions to history, culture and society.

Gabbard, who was the event’s guest speaker, joined the Hawaii National Guard while serving in the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2004. She served as both an enlisted Soldier and as an officer, and she told Soldiers joining the National Guard was just another way she could serve her country and community.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks of her experiences as a politician and a Soldier in the Hawaii National Guard during the Women's History Month observance.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks of her experiences as a politician and a Soldier in the Hawaii National Guard during the Women’s History Month observance.

“I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to run for office or join the military,” Gabbard said. “I was the shyest of my siblings, but as I got older, I decided I wanted to do something that made a difference.

“I found success in my military service,” she continued. “I learned so many valuable lessons. I met many other strong women who served. We had to work through countless challenges, including opinions that we can’t keep up. Breaking through misconceptions can only be done through action.”

Women have served in the military since the U.S. was formed, not always as Soldiers, but as nurses, cooks, seamstresses and spies.

These ladies traveled with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, braving the battlefields to care for the wounded and enduring the same hardships as the uniformed Soldiers.

Women took an active role in alerting American troops to enemy movement. They carried messages, transported contraband and gathered information as spies for the cause.

Some women traveled with their husbands, often stepping in when their men fell to enemy fire. Others even disguised themselves as men in order to fight.

Gabbard (right) takes a moment to speak with Soldiers after the Women's History Month observance at the Tropics Warrior Zone.

Gabbard (right) takes a moment to speak with Soldiers after the Women’s History Month observance at the Tropics Warrior Zone.

By World War I, women not only acted as nurses overseas, they picked up the slack in the workforce on the home front left by their fighting men. They worked in factories, offices and shops across the country, taking over once male-dominated jobs, such as clerical workers, telephone operators, typists and stenographers.

Other women volunteered to deploy overseas to assist the troops as communications specialists, nurses and dieticians. Because these women had served the Army without benefit of official status, they had to obtain their own food and quarters, and they received no legal protection or medical care.

World War II saw women serving in the military as uniformed troops, and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, or WAAC, was created. Members of the WAAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the U.S. Army.

These groundbreaking women seized the opportunity to take a major role in the national war effort overseas.

By the end of the war, their contributions would be well known; the battle for women’s complete integration into the armed services had begun.

Lt. Col. Todd Johnson, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID, presents Gabbard a token of appreciation for serving as the day's guest speaker.

Lt. Col. Todd Johnson, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID, presents Gabbard a token of appreciation for serving as the day’s guest speaker.

“I do believe strongly in opening the combat arms for women,” stated Gabbard. “However, the standards for those jobs are in place for a reason. It’s a matter of life and death, more so than with the other military occupations.

“There should be no exceptions, in any training,” Gabbard added. “If a woman chooses to join the combat arms, she should be held to all the same standards as the males.”

Since 1987, the U.S. has observed women’s contributions through Women’s History Month, which is celebrated annually throughout the month of March.

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Category: News, Observances

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