News: Kosovo Force's MNBG-E recognizes contributions of women in military
Story by Capt. Kevin Sandell
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- Daily business at Camp Bondsteel was a bit different, March 8, as the Multinational Battle Group-East command team and battle staff acknowledged the importance of women in the military, while also celebrating International Women’s Day.
Female soldiers from each of the staff sections received a rose to commemorate their service in the military and then posed for a group photo afterwards with the MNBG-E command team.
Many of the soldiers who received roses agreed that women contribute a wide spectrum of valuable abilities to NATO’s Kosovo Force, and while men and women may think differently, both have important contributions to give. The soldiers’ roles on the staff include assisting with stability operations and help facilitating a safe and secure environment for the people of Kosovo.
“I think that women bring a whole different perspective to issues that face us today,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Julia O’Neil, a native of Laurel, Md., who serves as the military police platoon leader on Camp Bondsteel. “The Army is very good at equal treatment between the sexes, and it is very clear that women have just as much a chance of leadership positions in the Army as the men do.”
Polish army 2nd Lt. Sylwia Klimkiewicz, who works in the battle group’s future operations section said that women’s personalities often reach a rational decision faster because they often exhibit calming traits.
“Women bring a different mindset and culture to the military,” says Klimkiewicz. “Our presence seems to calm down the male soldiers when discussions are occurring and therefore, they can reach rational thoughts more quickly.”
The native of Walily, Poland, joined the military because she wanted to serve the Polish people and to give herself to others. Today’s women in the military have a lot of traits necessary to meet the mission at hand, she said.
“This (Kosovo mission) is not just a job, its constant service for a better world where I have to take responsibility for decisions, have perseverance and work hard to perfect myself,” Klimkiewicz said. “I know that women may not normally be able to be as physically strong as our opposite gender, but we are mentally strong and very capable of many more things that are needed in this type of environment.”
O’Neil admits that men and women think differently, but says that it is important when facing challenges to have different ways of thinking.
“It’s a better element to have different aspects on approaches we may use,” O’ Neil said. “You’d be surprised how many times someone will say, ‘Hey, why didn’t we think of that,’ when women have their input.”
Polish army 2nd Lt. Renata Brzozowska, who works in the battle group’s Joint Implementation Committee and is a native of Przerosl, Poland, agreed that different ways of thinking often lead to a better solution or plan.
“We have different insight and solutions to problems that may arise, and we are more prone to maternal ways,” Brzozowksa said. “This is helpful in the ‘peacekeeping’ mission, so the people of Kosovo can see that we are committed to the area’s well-being and that we care.”
For each of the three female soldiers, joining their respective country’s military has been a positive choice, and they were elated to be recognized in Kosovo during International Women’s Day.
O’Neil, who joined the Army to serve the United States and see the world, while also learning about law enforcement, said she was surprised to receive the rose, but was elated to be acknowledged as an important part of the military family.
Second Lt. Brzozowksa wanted to do something special with her time in the military, especially during her deployment to Kosovo.
“I thought that being in the military and on such a mission would be the perfect kind of vocation for me. I have a sense here of adventure and spreading international good will when I help people,” she said.
Recognizing the battle group’s female soldiers on International Women’s Day was the brainchild of Polish navy Lt. Cmdr. Grunert Krzysztof, who serves as the assistant to the battle group’s deputy commander for operations.
“I think it’s important that we male military members always remember our other ‘halves’ in the military. This was just one way to say, ‘Thanks for being here and helping out.'”
U.S. Army Col. Charles Hensley, commander of Kosovo Force’s Multinational Battle Group-East and a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said that supporting the women’s day was an important undertaking, as women’s roles in the military are a “tremendously positive” aspect in finding solutions.
“This is a positive thing. In supporting International Woman’s Day, (Kosovo Force rotation 18) we acknowledge that women play an important part of our society and are integral to the success of our mission. It is tremendously positive to have every facet of every possible solution—or insight—to any potential problems when conducting daily business internationally; so women and their input are a key force in the creation of a better world for all of us,” Hensley said.