Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government

By Maj. Ruth Castro | March 19, 2016

20160319 —

Each year, the National Women’s History Project selects a theme that highlights achievements by distinguished women. This year's theme: Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government, highlights women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their public service and government leadership.  The 1ST Mission Support Command (MSC) and Installation Management Command partnered up to celebrate Women’s History Month at the 1st MSC Headquarters, Ramon Hall, on Fort Buchanan, PR, 17 March.

During opening remarks, Brig. Gen. Alberto C. Rosende, commanding general 1st MSC, welcomed everyone and emphasized the importance of observing Women’s History Month. “I think this is a very important event and that it is very significant that we recognize the history and the work that women have done,” said Rosende, “we need to make sure to continue to work hand in hand to allow everyone of sound mind and sound body to achieve the ultimate of what they can achieve regardless of what their gender is.”  

Throughout history, women have driven humanity forward on the path to a more equal and just society, contributing in innumerable ways to our character and progress as a people. In the face of discrimination and undue hardship, they have never given up on the promise of America: that with hard work and determination, nothing is out of reach.

Maj. Gen. Marta Carcana, The Adjutant General (TAG) for Puerto Rico and guest speaker, shared the words of Maya Angelou, a poet, writer, and civil rights activist. “She would say how important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and SHeroes,” said Carcana. “I want to thank each and every women that serves and has served in the Armed Forces of the United States, in every component, every unit, either as military personnel or support personnel.  We cannot forget our support personnel, they are the ones that make it possible for us.”

On September 25, 2015, the Puerto Rico Senate confirmed Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s appointment of Major General (PR) Marta Carcana as the Adjutant General of Puerto Rico.  She is the first woman to hold the position and the first woman general officer of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

As TAG for Puerto Rico, she is the Governor’s senior military advisor and oversees both state and federal missions of the Puerto Rico National Guard.  She provides effective leadership and management in the implementation of all programs and policies affecting more than 10,000 citizen-Soldiers and Airmen and three components of the Puerto Rico National: Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and State Guard.

Carcana spoke of how this year’s theme, recognizes the hard fought battles that working women have gone through throughout the years in public service and government. “We, the Puerto Rican women who serve in the military, have come a long way since the days of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps of WWII,” said Carcana. “Two hundred professional, young Puerto Rican women from this island, were called upon to serve the nation, and since then, Puerto Rican women have served in every conflict from the Korean War to the Global War on Terror.”

Carcana expressed how women in the military lead the way, serving hand in hand with fellow soldiers. “Today, we continue to serve and lead soldiers and airmen within our ranks and in the case of the Guard, women have taken an active part in the evolution of the Puerto Rico National Guard becoming the premier organization that it is today,” continued Carcana. “Our women have overcome great odds and because of their skills and determination, they are an inspiration to future generations of women who serve.”

She concluded her speech by acknowledging that women in service continue to make it stronger and a more united organization and are key to future success and a greater nation. It is her hope, that one day, she will not have to stand up and speak about how good and how great women are. That the eyes of every inhabitant of this earth, can look back and recognize the magnificent work everyone has done.

On June 23, 2008, President George W. Bush nominated Ann Dunwoody as a four-star general in the United States Army. Dunwoody was the first woman to ever achieve the rank in the history of the United States military.

In 2011, Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho became the Army’s 43rd Surgeon General. She was the first woman and the first nurse appointed as the Army’s top medical officer.  In this position, she is the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command and directs the third-largest healthcare system in the United States. Before being appointed as Surgeon General of the Army, General Horoho was the commander of the Army Nurse Corps.

On Thursday, December 3, 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ordered the United States military to open all combat positions to women—amounting to around 220,000 jobs that had previously been closed to females.

Women’s history is growing both by the contributions women make in their current role and by the opportunities that are being afforded to individuals regardless of gender.

In closing, Col. Michael T. Harvey, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan Commander, not only continued to reiterate the importance of recognizing the accomplishments of women throughout history. “We are building a society where our daughter’s will have the same opportunities as our son’s,” said Harvey. “There are many women in our times that have succeeded against great obstacles. There are stories to be told and we need to tell these stories to inspire future generations of young women in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.”

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