Personal Experience in Combat Units as a woman

I have thoroughly appreciated the path that has been set out for me over the course of my twenty years of military service.

As a young child living in a single-parent South Carolina household, my mother was unable to pay for my education expenses. My inability to attend college became apparent in the eleventh grade, so I made the decision to enlist in the Army. As a 92A Automated Logistical Specialist, I joined. On June 5, 1997, the trip began at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. As a child, I was needed to assist my mom in raising hogs, so I was no stranger to manual labor or demands. so I knew exactly what hard work and dedication entailed. During my experience in a combat unit, I have always felt I had to work harder than my male counterparts to earn their respect. The case is not different for the other female soldiers in combat arms units who have to work extremely hard to be recognized among the male folks.

In over my twenty years of duty, I have discovered that women have to prove they are physically fit, as well as technically and tactically proficient.

It is my goal to empower other female soldiers to strive for excellence and continue to set the pace for junior female soldiers to emulate and follow. We have to encourage female soldiers to remain steadfast regardless of the struggles and know they are valued and equal to the male counterparts.

Drill Sergeant Duties in an Infantry Battalion

In 2008, I was selected by Department of the Army to attend Drill Sergeant School. Although I have always worked with male soldiers, this was my first time to work with my combat arms male counterparts. It was definitely a blessing as well as a curse! They were subject matter experts in tactics. As a combat service support soldier, I was not so conversant with the tactics. I frequently asked my male counterparts for help. At the start, I could tell they were a little reluctant. It was my belief that they labeled me as a female assuming I just wanted the easy way out. During weapons training, I began to prove myself. I practice all fundamentals and how to carry the weapon at the low ready properly. I wanted to show that although I was a support Soldier, I had what it took to be great like my male counterparts. After showing a great amount of determination, they took me under their wing and helped me. I earned their respect and confidence. I would often think they did not require the same from the males. If males had a question, they quickly responded. I then began to form the opinion that if I wanted anything in success, I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts. While serving on the trail, I was successful because of my hard work. I would take my platoon on downtime and practice weapon and marksmanship fundamentals. I was so driven and focused on success, and as a result, my platoon won the highest basic rifle marksmanship in three consecutive cycles.

First Sergeant Duties in a Forward Support Company in a Field Artillery Battalion

I had the distinct honor to serve as a first sergeant in the Forward Support Company in a Field Artillery Battalion. I was already a first sergeant, but my brigade command sergeant major pulled me from my company and chose me for this unit. This unit had a string of disciplinary action and problems. I felt like I was setup for career suicide! This battalion had a reputation of treating females differently, and my predecessor told me horror stories she had encountered. I remember my first meeting at the battalion, and it was as if I was not there. There was no formal introduction, and at that time, the battalion command sergeant major was on temporary duty. As time went on, I earned my seat at the table. The medical readiness began to climb; physical training scores increased, disciplinary actions decreased, weapons went from 37% qualification to 90%. The Soldiers began to take pride and felt as if the company was the best. Again, my male counterparts would say, "I can't believe this is the same company." The battalion leadership personally recognized me for leading the most improved company. I felt success, but I often sat and thought that I had to work ten times harder to be considered valuable. In the end, this has been one of my best assignments in the Army.

Multiple Deployments

I experienced my first deployment in 2002; I was deployed to Kosovo for nine months. This was a peacekeeping mission where I worked at the Logistics Task Force. I supported the warfighters, and it was a great experience. The combat arms males would often tease me saying just make sure we have our food, supplies, and water. Over the next few years, I was deployed to Iraq twice, Afghanistan once, and Kuwait. While serving in each of these countries, it was challenging but a learning experience. Later in my career, I learned to accept the fact that as women, we will be challenged in our duties and competencies until we prove that we are equally important, by displaying our fitness abilities, technical and tactical strength. Females do not become discouraged or disgruntled; we must work together and accomplish the missions.


I encourage all female Soldiers to challenge themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. We have earned our seat at the table! Do not listen to any contrary statement. We are valued added. In spite of the obstacles and struggles we face, do not give up. It could be your test, and someone recognizes your potential to improve an organization. I hope my experience encourages other female Soldiers to be the very best they can be.

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