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Forum for deployed women of 3rd ID
0210 3rd ID womens forum
Army Sgt. Letisha Williams warns female soldiers about dimly lit areas around Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, during a women’s town hall meeting in January. - photo by Photo by SSgt. Natalie Hedrick
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq, — Female soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team attended a woman’s town hall meeting on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, in Janary to address issues affecting them.
The meeting recapped highlights from the unit’s female soldier deployment readiness luncheon, before the brigade deployed in October.
During the town hall meeting, the soldiers were introduced to leaders of health and welfare services, including behavioral health and stress management. They also learned about the unit victim advocate program.
“One of the purposes of this meeting today is to inform you of what agencies to go to when you have a problem and where to find those agencies,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. James Pearson, the brigade’s command sergeant major.
Pearson opened the floor for questions after speaking to the soldiers about the brigade’s sexual harassment and assault policy. “I want you hear these words come straight from my mouth,” he said. “Sexual harassment and sexual assault will not be tolerated in this brigade. Action will be taken.”
For many of the soldiers, the meeting was a chance to put faces with names and bond with other female soldiers. “No one understands female soldiers like other female soldiers,” said Army Capt. Joan Hollein, commander of the brigade’s Headquarters Troop.
Army Spc. Michelle Cook, Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, talked about what it means to be a woman in the military.
“Sometimes we have to go out of our way to get respect,” she said. “We have to prove ourselves, where sometimes male soldiers are just expected to do well.”
While the meeting was well attended, some participants said they had hoped to cover more topics. “I feel there were some concerns that people weren’t saying,” said Army Spc. Brentney Williams of Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. “I think some people just weren’t comfortable. I think there needs to be a way to get people to talk more. It’s important.”
Brigade officials said they’ll have more women’s town hall meetings during the unit’s deployment.
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