Fighting for equality

By Jeanine Mezei, Public Affairs Officer
Wednesday, September 05, 2018 at 11:30 AM

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Certificates of appreciation were awarded to Pfc. Macy Ryan from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Sgt. 1st Class Judith Legrand from 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Capt. Giovanna Camacho from Evans Army Community Hospital for sharing their stories during the Women’s Equality Observance at Fort Carson, Colorado, on Aug. 27, 2018. The Evans ACH command team, Col. Eric S. Edwards and Command Sgt. Maj. Federico Conde, recognized the Soldiers for their participation as guest speakers during the event.

Evans Army Community Hospital hosted the annual Women’s Equality Day observance Aug. 27 at the Elkhorn Conference Center with a large crowd of Soldiers and community members who showed their support.

The Women’s Equality Day Observance not only commemorated the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, but also represented women’s continuing efforts towards full equality.

“The women’s right to vote did not come easy and as long as women are underrepresented, there is work to be done,” said Col. Eric S. Edwards, Evans ACH commander.

This year’s Women’s Equality Day presentation highlighted women across the DOD who changed the course of our nation, continue to break down barriers towards full equality and pave the way for future generations.

The event featured three Soldiers who shared their unique experiences in the Army and some of the challenges they faced as women serving in male-dominated areas, such as special operations, field artillery and boxing.

All three speakers, which included Pfc. Macy Ryan from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Sgt. 1st Class Judith Legrand from 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, and Capt. Giovanna Camacho from Evans ACH, gave personal accounts of overcoming obstacles to become Soldiers who embody the Army values and excel in their respective career fields.

“No matter what you chose to do, and especially as a women, you need to try your hardest to prove that you can and you will,” said Ryan, a fire control specialist who entered the field artillery branch recently opened to women in 2016. “I came into the Army wanting more for myself and to encourage other women to feel they could do the same.”

While Ryan is comparatively new to the Army, Legrand brought some of her insight as a seasoned Soldier seeking opportunities within special operations despite obstacles.

“As a woman and a senior noncommissioned officer in a predominantly male organization, seeking leadership positions can be a challenge, but I’ll tell you it’s not impossible” said Legrand, an intelligence analyst and recent best warrior competitor at her unit. “Even when we are being overlooked or denied opportunities, we must not let these barriers get in the way of achieving our goals or excel, whether it’s in our professional or personal life.”

Camacho, who serves as an operations officer at Evans ACH and competed as a boxer in the World Class Athlete Program here at Fort Carson, helped conclude the observance with an account of her beginnings at the U.S. Military Academy. She helped create the West Point Women’s Boxing Team despite facing backlash from male cadets who thought women had no business in the gym.

After arguing to have access to the gym, Camacho and her team were able to practice there but were not allowed to enter the gym until “1831,” once the males were complete with the room.

“Slowly but surely, taboos around us faded away, we focused on our mission and four years later, we won over the thoughts so those who had rejected us before, through our actions,” said Camacho. “After three years of boxing without West Point recognizing us as a team, we were finally recognized as the West Point Women’s Boxing Team. In 2013, the same year, we won our first national championship.”

This type of progress continues to move women forward in the military despite lingering, dated attitudes about women.

“It is a testament to the courage and tenacity of the women and men who challenged the nation to live up to its founding principles,” said Capt. Christina Rott, a nurse assigned to Evans ACH. “The legacy of brave women who served, and continue to serve, our nation and the DOD further inspire us to strive for liberty and equality for all Americans.”

Capt. Giovanna Camacho, an operations officer assigned to Medical Department Activity-Fort Carson and Evans Army Community Hospital, shares her account of challenges she has faced during her career during the Women’s Equality Observance at Fort Carson, Colorado, Aug. 27 at the Elkhorn Conference Center.

Tags: Army , Equality , Fort Carson , Medical , Women

By Jeanine Mezei at 11:30 AM