CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
The commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command joined Soldiers from across Camp Arifjan in celebrating Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26.
Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr. attended the program organized by Area Support Group-Kuwait, which included a multimedia presentation and unique audience participation.
“Being here is an honor and privilege, because regardless of the gender, Soldiers are Soldiers,” Russell said. “For me, this is empowering—as a male—as a Soldier—to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to raise up and be who they want to be inside our Army and to have opportunities to be and go as far as they want inside our Army.”
Army Reserve Col. Karen Monday-Gresham, chief of staff for the Indianapolis-based 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), delivered the keynote address.
“Women are an essential part of the political, economic and social structure of our country, and have played an integral part in the nation’s military,” she said. “We tirelessly work to improve and strengthen our families, communities and Soldiers, which protects our way of life for future generations.”
Monday-Gresham, whose Soldiers staffed 1st TSC’s operational command post, said Women’s Equality Day commemorates the day in 1920 when women were granted the right to vote through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
“With the passage of this amendment, more than 20 million women were now eligible to vote,” she said. “This momentous event was about much more that the right to vote. It was the acknowledgement that women have value and their voices must be heard.”
At the completion of the program, Russell shared how some of the women in his life have impacted him.
“From a personal aspect ... the first woman I ever met was my mother, who instilled in me persistence, determination and to never give up,” he said.
“The next main woman in my life was my grandmother, who instilled in me compassion and the appreciation of nature,” he said.
“The third woman, who has kept me in the Army and kept me focused and, basically, has been my muse for the last 31 years is my wife, Sieglinde,” he said.
“Now, as I wrap that up, I finally have my first granddaughter, Allison, so I am going to take the lessons I learned here today to raise her to be equal to everyone and to go forward and be whoever she wants to be,” the general said.
The master of ceremonies for the event, Capt. Rochelle Thomas, the assistant intelligence officer for ASG-Kuwait, said she was thrilled to participate in the program.
“I am really big on women’s empowerment and women’s mentoring,” Thomas said. “It means the world to me to make sure women know they have a place in this world, and that they have a seat at the table and that they can do anything that anyone can do, especially their male counterparts.”
Thomas said she was pleased with the reaction from the audience when four female Soldiers, assigned to ASG-Kuwait—Sgt. Channing Moore, Sgt. Rebecca Worthy, Sgt. Leslie Parrish and Pfc. Myeasha Berryman—performed their speaking roles in the ceremony.
The four took turns reading quotes and slogans such as: “Don’t let anyone tell you you are weak, because you’re a woman,” and “When women are empowered, they make an enormous impact on the world,” and “I am eternally grateful to the women before me who fought for my rights.”
Thomas said she could see the positive reaction from the audience as the four Soldiers read the words of empowerment.
“The biggest reaction came at the end, when they all said the quote together: ‘Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them,’” she said. “I think that’s powerful in itself because it shows woman have a voice alone, and then, when we’re together, it’s even more powerful and empowering.”