CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq — The 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade, in concert with Wmen's History Month, conducted the first ever female-to-female change of responsibility in the history of the 308th BSB March 10 on COB Basra.
The historic ceremony marked the official transfer of Alpha Company first sergeant responsibility between the outgoing first sergeant, Jillana Malachi, and incoming first sergeant, Valanteen Skilang.
"First Sgt. Malachi's tremendous impact during her 18 month tenure with Alpha Company is a significant reason why we were so successful back at Fort Lewis and have continued that success here on COB Basrah," said Capt. John Roy, A Co, 308th BSB, 17th FiB company commander.
"I've enjoyed watching you grow as individuals and as a team," Malachi said.
"I wish you all the best in life and I appreciate all the support you have given me and this command over the last 18 months," added the Sacramento, Calif., native.
Up next for Malachi is a year of study at the U.S. Army Sergeants' Major Academy in preparation for an eventual assignment as a sergeant major, the highest onlisted rank possible for Soldiers in the U.S. Army.
As ceremonial guest speaker, 308th BSB Command Sgt. Maj. Wendell Jordan commented on the history of the unit as well as the significance of the event.
"Numerous historic battlefield events are embedded within the history of the storied 17th Fires Brigade and its subordinate units," Jordan said.
"The change of responsibility between two hard-charging female first sergeants during combat operations is a momentous achievement for women in the Thunderbolt Brigade. This represents the tremendous achievements that women have made in our Army and society in general," he added.
The 308th BSB served in multiple European campaigns during World War II but at that time, female soldiers weren't allowed to serve in combat organizations.
Due to the pioneering efforts of all women and specifically those serving in the United States Military, the sight of women in critical leadership roles in Iraq has become commonplace.