The Bayonet

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Army women should be celebrated

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The nation's annual observance of Women's Equality Day commemorates the addition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. This victory moved our nation forward on the path toward equal civil and political rights for all Americans.

The roles of women in the Army have changed dramatically since 1775. Then, women only nursed the ill and wounded, laundered and mended clothing and cooked for the troops in camp on campaign - services that did not exist among the Army's uniformed personnel until the 20th century. Now, women make up nearly 16 percent of the active Army and serve in 95 percent of all Army occupations. Women continue to have a crucial role in current operations, and their contributions to defending freedom underscore their dedication and willingness to share great sacrifices.

We are incredibly proud of our courageous and patriotic Army personnel. Daily, each member proves people are the strength of our Army. Together, they make the Army the strength of our nation. The Army has long been a leader in understanding the power and potential that is created by embracing diversity in the ranks. To that end, women of the highest caliber have served in our Army for generations and proven that sacrifice and selfless service are genderless. We are a world-class force because we recruit and integrate the best talent in ways that enhance decision-making and inspire high performance.

This Women's Equality Day, join us in honoring those who fought tirelessly for women's right to vote. We are grateful for all who have helped shape America and to make America's Army what it is today - a place where women and men from all walks of life stand proudly together in service to our nation. Army Strong!

- John M. McHugh Secretary of the Army

- Gen. Raymond T. Odierno Chief of staff of the Army

- Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler III Sergeant Major of the Army

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