65th BEB C.O. breaks ‘glass ceiling’ as Army officer

| May 27, 2016 | 0 Comments


Capt. Katie Richesin
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Female integration has been a highlighted and sometimes controversial topic in the Army over the last five years.

Tales of women receiving negative comments from male counterparts or hitting a glass ceiling have seemed pervasive.

With the recent graduation of female Rangers and the announcement of all military occupational specialties open to women, the perception that the Army does not give females the same opportunity as males is slowly shifting.

Lt. Col. Heather Levy, commander, 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is one example of a female in a senior leadership role. However, she states her success has nothing to do with gender.

“I have the same skills and talents as other battalion commanders,” Levy said. “I feel like I have been given every opportunity. It shouldn’t be surprising.”

Many of the jobs Levy has held are those someone who is selected for battalion command will traditionally hold in their career – platoon leader, company commander, battalion executive officer and operations officer. Other jobs, such as assistant professor of military science at John Hopkins University, and National Training Center deputy chief of staff, have expanded her skill set. However, she states that being a battalion commander is “the best job in the Army so far for me.”

Levy’s dedication and strong leadership have guided the 65th BEB through its transition as the 2nd BCT converts from a Stryker BCT.

“Lt. Col. Levy is extremely knowledgeable about all things engineer related based on her experiences. Additionally, she has the resident knowledge on the vast mission sets that a brigade engineer battalion has to execute,” said Capt. Joseph Durlin, assistant operations officer, 65th BEB. “She has been a great mentor to me. She has been very understanding. Rather than yell and belittle you as other leaders may do, she would take the opportunity to provide mentorship in a professional manner.”

Levy’s mentorship comes from the belief that “a lot of the strength of the Army is mentors, teachers and peers who challenge you and help you succeed.”

“It is also about being ready for when the opportunity comes,” she said. “I think the Army has work for everyone. It’s about what you can do. I think it’s a challenge for everyone, and if you have the chance, would you say, ‘I’m not ready,’ or would you take that challenge?”

As the Army moves to complete its female integration, Levy is a reminder that there are already great female leaders, and for them, it is just business as usual.


Category: Army News Service, Leadership

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