FORT EUSTIS, Va. - In the United States, Women's History Month can trace its beginnings to Women's Day back in 1911. The popularity of that day grew into a week-long celebration that continued till the late 1970s. Two people, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Barbara Mikulski were inspired to bring that show of popularity to other members of Congress in hopes of making it a national week of celebration. In 1987, Congress expanded the focus to the month of March, making it National Women’s History Month.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the 7th Sustainment Brigade hosts ‘Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination’ at Fort Eustis’ Jacob’s Theater March 19. Warrant Officer CyTique Johnson, a human resources technician assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, was the MC, while Col. Jennifer Reinkober, commander, 7th Sustainment Brigade, was the host. The observance was filled with rich history and highlighted the extraordinary achievements of American women.
The national anthem was sung by Sgt. Natasha Tyrell, 11th Transportation Battalion, followed by 2nd Lt. Lydia Whaley, STB, giving the ceremony’s invocation. Following a brief overview, by Johnson, of U.S. President Barrack Obama’s report highlighting 50 years of women’s history, the cast put on a show fictionalizing the progress of women’s roles from the 1950s to the present day. Sgt. 1st Class Jaime Hawley, brigade Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, played the stereotypical ‘housewife’ followed by the present female soldier in combat, played by Sgt. Cynthia Fischer, STB. The performances were hailed by the audience as well as Reinkober.
“I want to make sure we recognize all the hard work in the ceremony, from our Mistress of Ceremony, Warrant Officer (CyTique) Johnson, Capt. Katie Thomen (HHC, STB commander), Sgt. 1st Class Jesus Harry Velasquez (7th Sus. Bde. Equal Opportunity Advisor), and also give a round of applause to our performers,” said Reinkober.
The guest speaker for the event was Col. Maria A. Biank, commander, 93rd Signal Bde. She spoke about the role of women in the military since the Revolutionary War and how important women are to the future of our nation.
“As a nation we must build dynamic leaders for the future and women play a very important role; not only in the military, education and business, but also in areas related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). My challenge to each and everyone one of you is to get involved and learn,” said Biank. “I challenge senior leaders to teach, coach and mentor others and provide opportunities for women.”
Biank’s sister, Tanya Biank, was in attendance along with their mother and father for the special occasion. After the observation, Tanya Biank partook in photos and signed copies of her book "Undaunted" which tells stories of women in today’s military.
The ceremony highlighted the achievements of women in the U.S., but also around the globe. It was not just about women’s equality but of the equality of all people. At the root of the observance was this: It is important to recognize any person for their
accomplishments regardless of their race, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and any other category.