Thursday, April 3, 2008

3rd BCT Soldiers Celebrate Women’s History Month

Spc. Stephanie McCulley, from Uniontown, Pa., a medic attached to Headquarters Troop, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, is re-enlisted by Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George's County, Md., brigade commander, on March 29 at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers and leaders of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team hosted a Women’s History Month dinner on March 29 in the FOB Hammer dining facility.

The celebration included key speakers, a poetry reading, and a skit by Soldiers of Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT.

According to Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd BCT, there are approximately 237 female Soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers in the brigade.

“We have some great Hammer women gettin’ it done everyday,” he said. “You are the strength of our outfit.”

The dinner began as Spc. Atiyhia Godbold, from Manhattan, N.Y., Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, sang the National Anthem, and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Timothy Sowers, from Atchison, Kan., gave the invocation.

Sgt. 1st Class Vernisa Pope, from Chicago, Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT, spoke on significant women in history including Sally Kristen Ride, the first American woman to reach space, and Blanche Scott, the first woman to fly an airplane.

“Women’s History Month is about highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women throughout our history, while recognizing the equally significant obstacles they had to overcome along the road to success,” she said.

After Sgt. 1st Class Eurika Adams, from Queens, N.Y., Headquarters Company, 203rd BSB, recited the poem “Phenomenal Woman,” by Maya Angelou, Soldiers of Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT, performed a skit.

The moral of the skit was for women to start helping each other instead of keeping each other down. Female Soldiers especially need to work as at team to move forward, according to Pope.

“Although this skit had humor, it is reality,” Pope told the audience after the skit was finished. “As females, we need to come together and help one another. If we see each other falling by the wayside we need to pull each other to the side and show them the way so that we may continue in the footsteps of women who have already paved the way for us.”

Guest speakers for the evening were 2nd Lt. Jaquay Kelley, from Texarkana, Texas, Company C, 203rd BSB, and Maj. Cynthia Majerske, from Bar Harbor, Maine, the 3rd BCT surgeon.

“I cannot imagine how it would feel to be powerless, to be without a choice, to not be able to decide on what’s right and what’s wrong,” Kelley said. “I cannot imagine how it would feel to know that you were born a leader and not be able to lead. I cannot imagine how I would feel to be denied the privilege of wearing this uniform. So I can only be grateful for the courageous men and women of our past and present who have sacrificed the time, the resources and the political struggle to bring men and women together in the workplace.”

In her speech, Majerske talked about three steps in problem solving that have allowed many women in history to solve difficult problems or discover new ways of doing things that has changed everyone’s lives for the better. The three steps she spoke about were: understanding, finding a new creative solution and acting on that solution.

“Ingenuity is a powerful gift,” she said. “We all possess it. We share the innate curiosity that spurs us to find something new; something better. If we can use understanding and knowledge to overcome our fears, use our inventiveness to arrive at creative solutions and our inherent drive to act on these solutions, we will continue to accomplish great things in life.”

After the ceremony Spc. Stephanie McCulley, from Uniontown, Pa., a medic attached to Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT, was re-enlisted by Grigsby.

“McCulley has a family at home,” Grigsby said. “She has two boys and a great husband at home and she just raised her right hand to stay in the Army. It’s just amazing. I am amazed each and every day at what all of you are doing. You are incredible.”

The 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

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