In honor of Women’s History Month, Soldiers and Civilians gathered to celebrate women and the imprint they have had in history at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre March 20.
The Women’s History Month theme this year is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” honoring the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women.
Following the invocation given by Chaplain (Maj.) Kari Maschhoff, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, and the singing of the national anthem by the Buena High School Chorus, Col. Lisa Price, deputy commander of training, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, opened the event and introduced guest speaker Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, battalion commander, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Knapp explained that when she was asked to speak at the observance she was reminded of a previous luncheon she had attended where she met women who shared stories of their times in the Army.
“I had never met retired colonels, female, that were that senior before,” she said. “They really impressed me so when I was asked to speak today, I immediately thought of them and I wanted to tell you a little bit about their stories, and how it is our story too, and how we came to be where we are today in the Army.”
As she honored the thousands of women who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, Knapp introduced guests of honor, retired Col. Doris Caldwell, retired Col. Virginia Gannon and retired Col. Judy Carroll (not present). These women were among the first to serve within the ranks of the United States Army and had served at Fort Huachuca.
After she reminisced on the highlights of these women’s marks in history, she closed by saying, “Colonel Gannon and Colonel Caldwell, thank you so much for being here today. We have seen how there has been an incredible tradition of service in the military for women, and so much history still remains to be written.”
According to the Law Library of Congress, Women’s History Month dates back to 1981, when Congress requested that the week of March 7, 1982, be proclaimed as Women’s History Week. For the next five years, Congress continued to pass resolutions for continuance. After a petition by the National Women’s History Project in 1987, Congress designated the month of March, every year, as Women’s History Month.
Following the tribute to American women throughout Army history, Knapp, Lt. Col. Maricela Alvarado, G3/5/7, USAICoE, and Sierra Vista Council Woman Henrietta “Hank” Huisking, formed a panel discussion where they shared insights on the inspirational people in their lives and offered advice for young women.
As Alvarado fought to maintain her composure, she defined who her inspiring mentor has been. “It’s very difficult to find one or two individuals who inspire you throughout your life because as we grow as individuals we find different people who inspire us in different ways,” Alvarado said. “But really it has been my mom. Basically, when you look at the words for this month — women’s celebration — she is all of that.”
Huisking offered the advice “Bloom where you are planted because it makes you get out and realize who you are and what you can be … and be true to yourself. Don’t let other people define who you are.”
As the observance came to an end, Price presented certificates of appreciation to the participants and volunteers.
For more information on Women’s History Month, go to www.womenshistorymonth.gov.