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GALLERY: Honoring our local female service members
Jackie Gutierezz.jpg
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacqueline Gutierrez, an aviation electrician technician assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Savannah on Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, is a native of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She graduated from Brooke Point High School in 2004. She earned her bachelor’s degree in small business and entrepreneurship from Devry University. “I joined the military to start my life. I was ready to see what’s out there. I love the people I work with, and I’m proud of the job we do. It’s really eye opening to look around the hangar and to feel successful.” (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Daniel Thompson)

To commemorate Women's History Month, click on the images below to read the stories of female service members from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Coast Guard stationed at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.

Women have served in the Army and blazed a trail through history since the Revolutionary War. Their courage and sacrifice, right alongside their male counterparts, has been a testament to the strength and power they have brought to the Army for generations. March is Women’s History Month and this year the 3rd Infantry Division celebrates the professionalism and the contributions women continue to make to our Armed Forces.

While women and men can be fundamentally different, when you put both of them into military uniforms there are common threads that knit them together: Leadership, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honesty, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Women have played a vital role in our Army since its inception. Today, women are Soldiers, Army civilians, veterans and family members who are critical members of the Army team.

Despite previous misconceptions that women were not well-matched for combat arms occupations, women now have more opportunities in the Army than ever before. In April 2016, the Army opened up all traditional combat-arms occupations to women across the force. Approximately 18% of the total Army is female with more than 1,400 women trained and performing duties in infantry, armor or field artillery enlisted and officer positions.

However, history has shown this has not always been the case. While men were drafted to fight in major conflicts, women volunteered to put their nation’s needs above their own, serving in the Army’s Nurse Corps, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and the Women’s Army Corps. It wasn’t until June 12, 1948, that women were allowed to have a permanent presence in the Armed Forces. Women had to prove through hard work and dedication that all contributions to our nation – regardless of gender – were equal. It was the determination of the women of the past that paved the way for today’s female Soldiers. It was the achievements of women in the past that showed how the inclusion of female Soldiers makes a stronger and more capable fighting force.

There are still strides to make to be sure. Even today, a single photo tweet of a new Armor officer proudly donning her Stetson for the first time, embracing the proud tradition she is stepping into and carrying forward, can still bring about a slew of sexist comments and remarks. We still have room to grow, people to teach, and barriers to break, but one thing is certain: Women will always have a place in our military.

Army leaders have recognized the need for change and hope to close the gap with Project Inclusion, which aims to provide a workplace where women feel safe and valued. Last year, Project Inclusion launched “Your Voice Matters,” a series of listening sessions formatted to allow Soldiers to anonymously discuss issues with Army headquarters representatives. Topics for these sessions included physical fitness biases and gender inequality concerns, as well as equality for job promotion and career development. Army senior leaders take the feedback from these sessions to determine if there needs to be new policies implemented, revised, or reviewed due to Soldiers' concerns.

The most recent efforts by the Project Inclusion team were to update antiquated grooming standards, which incorporated common sense hair and nail changes that were asked for by current female service members, recognizing all Soldiers for their individuality.

The 3rd ID is proud of the service and accomplishments of female service members across the spectrum of occupations and across the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield joint force. Women not only serve in traditional combat arms positions, but also as pilots, human resources specialists and medical care professionals. Additionally, female “Dogface Soldiers” function successfully in leadership positions at all echelons of units and formations. Former and current female Soldiers of the 3rd ID serve with distinction and act as cornerstones within their units and surrounding communities. Women have made an incredible mark on the storied history of the 3rd ID and their successes enhance the fighting force by incorporating the quality and skills they uniquely bring to Army units.

They earned the tab. They carried the weight and thanks to the strong examples before them, they continue to exemplify that gender is not an indicator of what can make a good Soldier or leader. Women make our military stronger.

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