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    Together, We Are All Capable

    Together, We Are All Capable

    Photo By Maj. Jason Elmore | Female U.S. Army Advisors assigned to 1st and 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade...... read more read more

    Female U.S. Army Advisors assigned to 1st and 54th Security Force Assistance Brigades participated in a women’s empowerment event at the Colombian Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Tolemaida, Colombia from Jan. 23-24, 2023.

    The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the importance of and some of the issues facing women in both the United States and Colombian militaries.

    “Women play a significant role in maintaining peace and security in Colombia. Colombia is trying every day to contribute more to peace and security with women. This year the first female privates were incorporated. With this, there are now women at all levels of the Army increasing their participation in all areas,” said Capt. Zuly Lugo, an officer in the Colombian Army.

    Women in Colombia can currently serve in all branches of the military and are involved in a variety of roles, ranging from combat positions to administrative and support roles.

    Restrictions on combat jobs were lifted from women in the United States Army in 2016, and the world is beginning to better understand how important the inclusion of women is in all aspects of military operations.

    Women’s empowerment events can serve to strengthen women’s inclusion in the military by promoting equality, helping women build networks, and fostering an environment to inspire others for positive change.

    “Women’s engagements are essential because it shows that men and women can work together and respect each other regardless of a different gender,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Heather Planatscher, assigned to 3rd Squadron, 1st SFAB, and an event participant.

    “In order for a country’s entire organization to make effective change, it helps to see someone as the positive example first. There’s trust and partnership with the [United States] and [Colombia], so, it’s best to be that example and continue making ourselves the partner of choice to Latin American Militaries,” echoed Sgt. 1st Class Tatiana Jairala, another participant assigned to 54th SFAB.

    A five-female U.S. Army advisor team toured the noncommissioned officer academy, visiting various classrooms to exchange experiences as females in the military with the academy’s military students.

    The following day they met with Colombian Soldiers in the field to discuss their experiences.

    “Colombian Soldiers all received us with positive regard. They were genuinely awed by the U.S. having integrated women into Combat Specific [jobs] and some asked questions about how we felt being side by side the infantry,” said Jairala.

    “It will undoubtedly help connect our militaries because what better way to understand another Soldier than to have been that Soldier [living] through the changes themselves. True empathy can be given to women of militaries going through the integration process having done so ourselves,” continued Jairala.

    “While those female Soldiers may not remember our names or faces, they will remember the day they were in training and a group of female Soldiers from the United States Army told them, and showed them, that they are just as capable of serving in the Armed Forces as anybody else,” added Sgt. 1st Class Yalani Castro, another event participant.

    All these women serve in a security force assistance brigade, a purpose-built formation designed to integrate with a partner security force. They advise, assist, liaise, and assess their partners in an effort to improve partner force capacity and capability and make the two countries more interoperable.

    The 1st and 54th Security Force Assistance Brigades currently provide military advisors to a variety of countries in Latin America.

    “Events like this can make tremendous headway in building relationships and connections with militaries in which the U.S. employs military advisors,” said Lt. Col. Robert Anspaugh, commander of 4th Battalion, 54th SFAB, who is currently employed in Bogotá, Colombia.

    U.S. Southern Command also recognizes the importance of women in the military and established the Women, Peace, and Security program.

    The WPS recognizes the diverse roles women play as agents of change in preventing and resolving conflict, countering terrorism and violent extremism as well as building post-conflict peace and stability in our Hemisphere.

    All these efforts fall under a larger framework and implementation plan from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Departments to advocate for women’s issues and increase their presence in both peace and security needs.

    “At U.S. SOUTHCOM, we are committed to integrating gender perspectives into all our activities, and we encourage our partners to create structural changes in their militaries to allow for the same through our WPS program,’ said Gen. Laura Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command.

    SFAB advisors in Latin America hope to continue their work in the future to not only build relationships and connect with their security force counterparts but to also serve as important examples that through programs like WPS, we can improve our readiness for the world’s challenges.



    Date Taken: 03.31.2023
    Date Posted: 03.31.2023 11:08
    Story ID: 441661
    Location: CO

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