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    First Female Engagement Team on Bliss

    First Female Engagement Team on Bliss

    Photo By Jason Ragucci | Capt. Kelly Hasselman explains the Female Engagement Team’s mission to Correspondent...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Ragucci 

    1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

    FORT BLISS, Texas - The U.S. Marines started the Female Engagement Teams three years ago and now the U.S. Army has adopted the same program.

    Capt. Kelly Hasselman is the first commander of the Female Engagement Team detachment for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. She is an alumnus from the Citadel and has been a soldier for over four years.

    “Our mission is to engage the Afghan local population, primarily women and children; to build relations and establish contact in order to gain their trust and cultural respect,” said, Hasselman.
    Correspondent Rosiland Jordan interviewed Hasselman for the Aljazeera English Channel on the differences between the cultures of the U.S. and Afghanistan.

    “In America a man can come up and talk to any woman; but, in Afghanistan that’s not how it works. Only the male head-of-the-household or family members can talk to the women in that family. That’s where we come in. Our job is to get the women and children’s side of the story and hear their concerns,” says, Hasselman.

    “One of their [Afghan women] biggest concerns is security. They want the same things for their family as we do our family. We take the information to our commanders so they can make an all around assessment that is appropriate to the area that we are in.

    Training is important and essential as well as repetition. Currently, my team is in a 16-week Pashto language training, which will help them engage Afghan women in their host nation’s language. Then, my team will move in to basic combat skills so they will not be a liability to the infantrymen,” says, Hasselman.

    “I’m excited because I get to do something that I’ve signed up for,” said Spec. Jessica Burke who has been a combat medic for two years.

    “I feel my job will be more important than what I was doing and it gives us more of a direct line to what is going on in the Middle East,” said Sgt. Miranda Larsen.

    Female soldiers who volunteer for a FET will not go through infantry training and will not be awarded a combat military occupation specialty. They will follow infantrymen inside Afghan homes to question and converse with women and children who reside there.


    Date Taken: 05.09.2012
    Date Posted: 05.11.2012 22:11
    Story ID: 88339
    Location: EL PASO, TEXAS, US

    Web Views: 996
    Downloads: 1