2014-03-07 / Spectrum

Honoring women’s contribution in service

“Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment” is the theme for the Defense Department’s observance of Women’s History Month in March, and it’s an apt title. Women of character, courage and commitment are needed in defense of our nation, and we’ve got them.

The story of our armed forces is replete with anecdotes of women who’ve worked hard, overcome challenges and made remarkable contributions to our history and our future. Some are only known to a few, but have quietly made their mark through their professionalism and devotion to duty on the job each day. Women like:

- 1st. Lt. Christie Plackis, the executive officer assigned to the 74th Engineer Dive Detachment at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and one of only four women Army divers.

- Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Cardosi, who arrived last year at the 7th Infantry Division’s 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to serve as the first woman fire direction officer in an M777A1 howitzer cannon unit.

- 1st Lt. Janill Castillo, a native of Bronx, N.Y., who serves as the commander for Multinational Battle Group --East EOD detachment in Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

Others have earned a higher profile, smashing through the military’s glass ceiling to achieve what only a few dream of:

- Retired Major General Jan Hicks, the commanding general of the Signal Center and Fort Gordon from 2002 to 2005.

- Dr. Karen S. Guice, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the past two years.

- Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force.

In the proclamation for DoD’s 2014 Women’s History Month observance, the director of the Office of Diversity Management, F. Michael Sena, wrote the following:

“When put to the test, women have displayed the character to courageously stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow countrymen while committing to safeguard the democracy of our nation...the Department is forever indebted to the remarkable pioneers of the past, those continuing their legacy today, and those who will protect our freedom and security in the future. Today’s women continue to valiantly serve as military service members and civilians with valor and distinction, carrying on the rich and long tradition of character, courage and commitment that will continue to break down barriers and set new precedents while serving in defense of this nation.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Observe Women’s History Month in March proudly.

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