FORT HOOD, TX, UNITED STATES
By Cpl. Shejal Pulivarti
1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORT HOOD, Texas – Female leadership from 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division reignited The Army Female Development Program by holding a brigade-wide female-specific meeting.
The program that was originally initiated, by the Ironhorse Brigade, during the last deployment, serves as a mentorship program. While deployed, the monthly get-togethers served as a "girls night out" and allowed the female Soldiers to relax and spend time together. Their gatherings consisted of watching movies, eating food and talking about their recent experiences.
"The significance of the women's mentorship program being facilitated within the Ironhorse Brigade is that it cultivates forward thinking and highlights the impacting contributions that women in the military have made throughout its history," said Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Smith, equal opportunity advisor for the Ironhorse Brigade.
The heavy-infantry brigade combat team leadership saw a great opportunity to allow females to share, learn and grow from others throughout the brigade. It serves as a positive outlet and forum for improving the unit. "The message is self-perpetuate as it is relayed to junior female Soldiers while they strive to make differences in what we do as a unit and organization in general," stated Smith.
Soldiers of all rank enlisted and officers alike, throughout the Ironhorse Brigade attended the first assembly of its kind since the unit returned to home station.
The meeting introduced the troopers to the program. "We are here to build, empower and strengthen-to make this brigade even better for all Soldiers," boldly stated Milwaukee, Wis. native Capt. Tiffany Morman, commander of Company B, 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
The overall panel for the program consists of senior females in the brigade; it includes senior non-commissioned officers and officers. The first meeting kicked off with three female company commanders and a company executive officer introducing themselves and sharing their various backgrounds.
The panel shared that the brigade commander proposed to restart this program since it was so positive and effective in Iraq. "All Soldiers, male and female will benefit from this training as it expands to encompass all populations of the unit in the future," said Smith.
"We want to not only grow and help each other but also address anything necessary to improve the equal opportunity program in the brigade," said Morman.
Receiving feedback from the quick surveys provided at the beginning of the gathering prompted the discussion to general themes such as respect and more in-depth topics like helping shape the equal opportunity program to reflect Soldiers' concerns. The relaxed and professional setting allowed the female troopers to express their opinions and share their experiences freely.
Among the topics discussed were improving interactions between genders on a daily basis and general respect. "It's hard to be a woman in a heavy infantry brigade. It's hard to be a hooah-hooah Soldier and still be acknowledged as a woman or vice versa," stated Puyallup, Wash. Native Capt. Olivia Nunn, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
Many of the attendees shared their experiences. "This program is going to help improve the equal opportunity program," stated Morman. "We want the program to be a positive thing, we want to uplift each other and make the unit better by making ourselves better."
"It was nice to see the Soldiers become comfortable enough to share their opinions," stated Detroit, Mich. native Spc. Tiesha Tinsley, communications specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 115th BSB. "We used to do something similar in Iraq and it really helped us get through all we were dealing with. I'm glad that something like this has been created so we have an outlet."
The leadership plans to hold meetings once a month to address specific issues that Soldiers might encounter. "It's a way to learn, share and grow. A way to better not only the unit but us individually-as people," shared Morman.
||FORT HOOD, TX, US
This work, Ironhorse reignites Army Female Development Program, by SSG Shejal Pulivarti, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.