‘Do the hard work’: Army leaders who make history share their knowledge with female soldiers
Army Command Sergeant Major Lynice Thorpe-Noel says she has seen her share of prejudice rise through the ranks as a black woman in the military.
“Sometimes I might have thought it was because of the color; maybe it was maybe my perception that maybe it was because I’m female – I don’t. I’m not absolutely sure. And to be honest with you, I didn’t. Let that be an obstacle for me, “Thorpe-Noel, senior enlisted adviser from the US Army Human Resources Command, said at the meeting. ” a virtual chat with women in the military organized by the Association of the United States Army.
“I wasn’t going to let someone else’s barriers or prejudices be my responsibility… I just felt the best course of action was to stay the course and move on. and doing everything I did well. “
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Thorpe-Noel was one of four senior women in the military who took part in the event which took place two days before the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.
A century later, “[the] The majority of the country say that “the country has not gone far enough to give women equal rights with men,” said Lieutenant General Laura Richardson, commander of US Army North.
“While this is a disturbing statistic, the military, on the other hand, wants female soldiers to be assigned to positions that offer full and challenging career and promotion opportunities,” said Richardson.
Richardson acknowledged that the military still has work to do, as women make up about 18% of the total force.
But the advice she offered was addressed to both female and male soldiers.
“Be confident, learn all you can about your unit and your command, your job and your army,” said Richardson. “Get mentally, spiritually and physically fit, and be competitive.… Lead by example. Show your organization what law looks like. This is how we empower the next generation of leaders.”
Richardson added that all soldiers should find a mentor and become a mentor.
Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, the first woman to become Army Reserve Chief and Army Reserve Command Commander, agreed with Richardson that mentors are essential in guiding future leaders.
Daniels credited her career mentors with encouraging her to “take a path that I might not have taken otherwise.”
“One of them said to me, ‘you should go to college,’ and it had never been on my radar screen,” Daniels said. “Another said to me, ‘you know you can’t become a general officer if you don’t apply and go to war school.’ The fact that someone even thought I might be a general officer … was clearly not on my radar screen, either. “
Daniel’s advice to young female soldiers was to “consider where you want to be two positions beyond now.”
“It might sound like a long way off, but it really isn’t,” Daniels said. “Take the tough tasks, the tense positions, then go work hard and make the most of every opportunity. “
Kathleen S. Miller, who is the administrative assistant to Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, also served as the civilian assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army G-3/5/7.
Miller said her military career began as the young wife of an Air Force aviator while serving overseas in 1983.
“While I had a degree in economics from Cornell [University], I wasn’t a very good typist and that significantly limited my options for working abroad, ”Miller said.
She eventually found work in the controller field when her first boss saw potential in her.
“He tried my luck and hired me and it was the start of a federal career that allowed me to grow, learn and be a leader not only in finance but also in logistics, operations and now providing a myriad of support services to Army Headquarters, ”said Miller, who also studied at the US Army War College.
Thorpe-Noel said she has seen women make a lot of progress during her 30-year career, pointing to then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s decision in late 2015 to open all jobs in combat arms to women.
“And they’re doing well; all we needed was just the opportunity to have the opportunity to get the job done,” Thorpe-Noel said. “I think it’s about a state of mind and being ready to be the one to say ‘Hey, I’m going to give them the opportunity because they deserve it.'”
– Matthew Cox can be reached at [email protected].
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