News: Jelinski-Hall: Men, women united by uniform, single standard
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
ARLINGTON, Va. – Male and female service members are united by the uniform they wear and by a single, shared standard, the senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau said here last week.
“We do not serve based on gender, race or creed,” Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall said during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington Cemetery. “We serve united by the uniforms we wear.”
Noting that the lifting of a ban on women serving in combat is exponentially increasing opportunities for women in the military, Jelinski-Hall stressed the importance of a single standard regardless of gender.
“As you move forward to seize your opportunity, remember there is no separate standard for men and women,” she said at a Women in the Military Wreath Laying Ceremony sponsored by the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend.
“There is only the standard,” Jelinski-Hall said. “Any woman who can meet the standard for the particular role she seeks in our armed forces can – and increasingly does – have the opportunity to succeed and to serve.”
Nearing the end of a career that took her from the Midwest prairie to the Pentagon and from airman to the senior enlisted adviser for a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jelinski-Hall was one of five senior enlisted female service members honored as part of the May 22 ceremony.
The others: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Billie Jo Boersma, Navy Master Chief April Beldo, Marine Sgt. Maj. Angela Maness and Coast Guard Master Chief Julie Gunderson.
“Each has distinguished themselves in their respective branches, each has seized an opportunity to create a great moment for themselves and in so doing have created great moments for all women in the military,” Jelinski-Hall said of her fellow honorees.
More than 300,000 – or 15 percent – of the nation’s almost 2.3 million active and reserve component service members are women.
“We have contributed in unprecedented ways,” Jelinski-Hall said. “We have fought, we have bled, and we have died alongside our brothers in arms in Iraq, in Afghanistan and wherever our nation called us to serve – and did so proudly.
“As we look to the future on women in service, we all have one thing in common: An all-encompassing love for the United States of America and a desire to serve our nation.”