News: Multinational Force and Observers participate in Women’s History Observance
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
EL GORAH, Egypt - Throughout the U.S. Army’s 238-year history, women from all walks of life have come together to help secure freedom. Whether performing life-saving treatment on an Infantryman in WWII or leading a unit in today’s "war on terror," women continue to break down the barriers that once held them back.
Service members from several nations, operating under the Multinational Force and Observers, came together with soldiers from Task Force Sinai to honor and celebrate women both past and present during the 34th Annual U.S. National Women’s History Month March 27 in El Gorah, Egypt.
“Women’s history month is a great opportunity to recognize those mothers, wives and sisters, all around us, who have inspired us,” said U.S. Army Col. Patricia Matlock, chief of support for the MFO.
Recognition and celebration of women began in 1980 as a weeklong event that was later extended to a monthlong observance.
This year’s overarching theme was “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment” and was accompanied by the visual reminders of historical women who made an impact not only on the military but everyday life. These visuals included Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa and Amelia Earhart.
The guest speaker for the event was Australian Contingent Commander and Deputy Chief of Operations for the MFO in the Sinai, Lt. Col. Nerolie McDonald.
McDonald, a 22-year Australia Army intelligence officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan has experienced firsthand what it means to be a female serving in a male dominate force and offered words of encouragement and motivation to the audience that gathered.
“Growing up, if you asked me as a child, who’s a famous member of the military I would have said General Patton, General MacArthur, I wouldn’t have come up with Florence Nightingale … because you don’t often think of women when you think of famous military people, but that’s okay,” McDonald said. “At the end of the day history is what it is, it’s what we make in the future that’s important.”
To ensure the next generation of females have a bright future not documented in invisible ink, McDonald presented women in the audience with a personal challenge to self-impose everyday.
“The best way to promote women in the future it’s doing your job and doing your job well, as a woman,” McDonald added.
Matlock and McDonald are just two glaring examples of successful women currently serving in the military and more specifically with the MFO. Women soldiers can be found serving in almost every facet of daily operations- from a mail clerk to a battalion commander.
The Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) is and independent peacekeeping organization which is headquartered in Rome and based in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Created by agreement between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel it is comprised of military members and from 13 nations. Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of the Fiji Islands, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United States and Uruguay contribute contingents to make up the MFO's Force.