Women Veteran Trailblazers

This month I would like to focus on women trailblazers. Women have been
accomplishing great things since combat roles were opened to women in 2015.

Not only have they been Rangers, they have been Marine Corps recon, Green Berets, and Air Force para jumpers. Women are the fastest growing demographic among all veterans in the United States. Today about 9% of the roughly 9,000,000 veterans treated by the VA are women — a percentage the Department of Veterans Affairs expects to double by 2040. The House Veterans Affairs committee announced the creation of the Women Veterans Task Force last year to identify and eliminate barriers women face when trying to access VA care.

One of the women I would like to focus on is Army sergeant Danielle Farber. She is a Pennsylvania National Guard member and 166th Regional Training Institute Medical Battalion training site instructor. The other woman I would like to focus on is Army Staff Sergeant Jessica Smiley. She was currently working as an MP noncommissioned officer serving with the Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Both of these women graduated Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia December 13, 2019 as the first National Guard enlisted women to complete the leadership school. I would also like to give a mention to Staff Sergeant Amanda F. Kelley who was assigned to the First Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade in Fort Bliss, Texas. Amanda was the first Army enlisted woman to graduate from Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia August 31, 2018.

It is an exciting and important time to witness the evolution of gender roles in the military. Our charge now is to make sure we support that evolution by putting in place the appropriate measures to provide all veterans the care they need and deserve.

One other mention, when women receive their care at the VA, one apparent truth is a lot of these services and programs were designed for men; some of the nuances don’t shine through for women. This was stated by Joy Ilem from DAV who is on the Women Veterans Task Force.

On March 21, 2019 the Deborah Sampson act was introduced to Congress. Since that date it has passed in the house but is stalled in the Senate. We need to contact our senators, to push this act and bill to pass. Any questions on contacting your senators please contact DAV and we can help you.

The DAV Mid-Winter conference was in February. I was not able to go but did send another member of our committee for the State women’s veterans
committee. Gay Leigh Mundy attended in my place. Next month I will have a report to see how the bills are going for Women Veterans. But please be assured, the Deborah Sampson needs to be passed.

Until next month, enjoy the spring and get outside.

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