Guardian Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Geoffrey Cole, and Command Sgt. Maj., Aaron Wheeler, highlight the importance of the Female Mentorship program and event. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot)
Guardian Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Geoffrey Cole, and Command Sgt. Maj., Aaron Wheeler, highlight the importance of the Female Mentorship program and event. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot)

Sisters in Arms on the Korean Peninsula

by Capt. Gabriel Bull
35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade

Senior leaders from across the Korean Peninsula came together to unite Sisters in Arms from 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 35th ADA Brigade, at Camp Carroll, South Korea. 

On February 7, 2019, 2-1 ADA hosted a Female Senior Leader Panel at Camp Carroll’s Community Activity Center. More than 90 soldiers attended the event to hear from senior female Army officers and noncommissioned officers on the challenges and unspoken expectations of female Soldiers. 

“This event really inspired me to build up my confidence and just be myself whether it’s a female or male soldier around. I really appreciate each and every member that spoke about their strengths and weaknesses” said Pfc. Timya Williams. 

The leader panel included Lt. Col. Shannon Aseron, 35th ADA Brigade deputy commanding officer; Maj. Shauna Hann, 403rd Army Field Support Battalion chief of support operations; Maj. Leslie Shipp, 6th Ordinance Battalion executive officer; Command Sgt. Maj. Jacqueline Peachers, 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) Special Troops Battalion (STB) command sergeant major; and Master Sgt. Teniea Thomas, 2ID STB S-3 noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

Lt. Col. Aseron opened the discussion, reflecting on historical female figures and the transformation of the Unites States military service to what we see today. She said, “Women continue to enhance and augment our capabilities as well as rise in increasingly higher levels in the Armed Forces. So, the face of our military is changing, and more than ever women are involved in our organization today.” 

Both Maj. Hann and Master Sgt. Thomas discussed the significance of being a subject matter expert and allowing the knowledge to be a lasting impression. Command Sgt. Maj. Peachers said, “When you have a seat at the table, take it.” She encouraged soldiers not to be afraid or miss out on invaluable opportunities presented to them in the years ahead. Maj. Shipp touched on being true to one’s self and never pretending to be someone else. Soldiers can tell the difference between genuine and fake leadership. 

“As a future company commander, this panel provided me with ideas on how I can create a positive and impartial command climate that enables female Soldiers to overcome gender specific challenges” said Capt. Wollenczy Gentillon. 

As of 2018, women make up 16% of Active Duty soldiers. This limits the opportunity for junior female soldiers to interact with, work alongside of, and seek mentorship from successful, senior female leaders. Acknowledging the gap of female presence in the military, it is imperative to provide female mentorship programs to provide personal and professional growth.

The 2-1 ADA female mentorship program, Females Immersed in Rewarding Empowerment, Education, and Experience (FIRE3) is designed to promote diversity, equal opportunity, and encourage Soldiers to develop to their fullest potential. The FIRE3 program provides quarterly open forums for female Soldiers to interact with each other, conduct team building exercises, and hear from senior Army leaders. 

2-1 ADA will host another Female Senior Leader Panel in June 2019. The FIRE3 program intends to extend the invitation to the tenant units of USAG-Daegu. 

Story by Capt. Gabriel Bull, 2-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion

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