The Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues and senior women enlisted military members gathered at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial here May 22 for the 16th annual recognition ceremony.
An acknowledgement and wreath laying ceremony is held every year near Memorial Day to honor fallen servicewomen.
The wreath, provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, was placed in front of the pool at the memorial. After the wreath was placed, members of the caucus and the honorees placed a long-stemmed rose in honor of the fallen around the memorial’s pool.
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, the first Air Force female service member to attain the rank of brigadier general in the comptroller career field, spoke to all in attendance, highlighting the changes that have occurred throughout the years, such as Veterans Affairs benefits and having access to a broader array of career fields.
“Just recently we’ve had that major change that women are no longer prevented from serving in combat by virtue of being women,” Vaught said.
Among the servicewomen honored during the ceremony was Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Angela M. Maness, who is slated to be the first female sergeant major of Marine Barracks Washington.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected … to take a post, any post, but to be identified as a sergeant major to go to our oldest post, it is a privilege,” Maness said.
To Maness, it’s not about being a female Marine, she said, but being a Marine through and through, no matter the gender.
“Words of wisdom, not just for female Marines, for every Marine; do your job, stay in the fight and do the best job you can do for your boss, for the Corps, for America,” Maness said.