Story and photo by Timothy Hale
U.S. Army Reserve Command
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Women in U.S. Army have played a key role in the successes of this nation’s military, from the American Revolution to today’s overseas contingency operations.
In a Women’s History month presentation at the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters, here, March, 25, Maj. Gen. Marcia M. Anderson, the deputy chief, U.S. Army Reserve, said that America’s women have continually proven they have what it takes to succeed – whether they are in garrison or on the battlefield.
Anderson, who is the Army’s first African-American female to achieve the rank of major general, said that one woman has earned the Congressional Medal of Honor and six others have earned Silver Stars.
“The courage to serve brings with it the rigors of war,” Anderson said. “Women, like men, have fought heroically and in doing so, many have been rewarded for their courage.”
Anderson said that 23 percent of the Army Reserve is made up of women across a total force of 200,000 citizen soldiers working in 305 different career fields. That equates to about 45,000 women in uniform.
“That is the highest percentage of any other component in the Army or the Department of Defense,” she said. “There are a lot more opportunities for women to excel in the military than when I came in because it has become more diverse than ever.”
As the Army continues to look at opening more than 30,000 jobs to women that were previously closed, Anderson is an integral part of the ongoing evaluation.
She is serving on an advisory group to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to advise the TRADOC commander on the evaluation process of the types of future standards to apply to military occupation specialties.
“A lot of testing is going on right now,” Anderson said. “It has been amazing to sit there and listen to all the testing that is being done and surveys that have been conducted. The Army is doing a very thorough job of evaluating and assessing.”
Anderson said that while the military is one of a few industries that pay men and women equally for their chosen profession, the opening of previously closed positions will “allow women the opportunity to climb equally up the ranks of the military,” she said.