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Feature Stories

NEWS | Aug. 30, 2018

Camp As-Sayliyah Celebrates Women’s Equality with Sisters in Arms Event

By Capt. Braden Shoenlein Area Support Group - Qatar

In 1973, Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York proposed a resolution to make Women’s Equality Day an official day of observance. The resolution designated August 26 as the day to commemorate and celebrate the adoption of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote. This amendment, passed in 1920, was at least seventy years in the making as pioneer women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony helped launch the movement for women’s rights in the late 1840s.

United States Army Col. Robin Julch commander of 310th Human Resources Sustainment Center, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) gave due credit to the aforementioned feminine activists and acknowledged how they paved the way for women’s equality in the military services. From the first women disguised as men serving in the Civil War, to the first woman to hold a command in a combat zone in the Vietnam War, to the first female graduates of Ranger School in 2015, Julch showcased how women have expanded their presence in all branches of the military and highlighted their commitment to service.

Female and male service members, alike, were moved and inspired by the message Julch conveyed.
“The celebration of women’s equality is truly at the core of who I am every day,”
said U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathan Culver, of Area Support Group-Qatar (ASG-QA). “Raised by six different women, [I] was taught that a woman can accomplish the same, if not more, than any male counterpart. My family has infused this value and belief into my being, and I celebrate with all women in the continuing efforts towards equality of everyone. Thanks mama.”

Camp As-Sayliyah embraced the themes of female empowerment, equality and commitment to military service and paid tribute to Women’s Equality Day by hosting a Sisters in Arms circuit training event. This was an organized workout that acted as the culmination to the Women’s Equality Day observation. On the evening of August 23, 2018, women and men from all units gathered outside Camp As-Sayliyah’s gym to celebrate and commemorate in a way only the military knows how—with a grueling, sweat-inducing workout.

In 104 degrees Fahrenheit, with today’s hits blasting from the speakers, participants channeled their inner warriors for sixty minutes straight. Motivation and encouragement fueled the event. There were about 25 events in total, ranging from tire flips, box jumps, and sprints. It truly achieved the concept of a total-body workout. What was most inspiring was the recurring theme throughout the event: strength in numbers. Everyone was paired with a battle buddy to encourage and help each other through the exercises.

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Reed, the command sergeant major of ASG-QA, embodied this mentality and did not rest for a second between not only participating in the circuit but also running from station to station, cheering on the participants. Afterwards, she stated, “The goals of the program [were] to professionally and personally develop our participants, increase their confidence, and improve mutual respect between genders by providing a forum where enduring mentoring relationships can develop and flourish.”

U.S. Army Capt. Nina Wolf, a CrossFit loyalist and workout fiend, enjoyed the experience and camaraderie. “Workouts like the Sisters in Arms one remind everyone that we’re all in this together,” said Wolf. “We’re all here to help push you to your limits—all you have to do is reach out to your neighbor.”

Female Soldiers were not the only ones getting their sweat on and celebrating women’s equality. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Perez from 1st Medical Brigade, was one of the eager participants. “In celebration of women’s equality, what better event to showcase our young professionals than in friendly competition within our ranks—both Soldiers and leaders having fun and expressing their loyalty to each other,” said Perez.

Camp As-Sayliyah’s Sisters in Arms event mirrored the same ideals of strong female leaders of the past, such as those who fought for women’s suffrage long ago. The ideals of equality, justice, and free-will are not dissimilar to some of the motivations of our founding fathers. Women’s Equality Day is about celebrating these ideals and continuing to preserve them.

After Julch’s presentation, Reed addressed the audience in saying, “Someone once said a strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not [to do].”

The Sisters in Arms event exemplified the strong female Soldiers we have amongst our ranks and also the strong male Soldiers we have who support them. Women’s Equality Day gives us an opportunity to appreciate the leaders who paved the way for our Army and military today and to remind ourselves we must continue to pave the way for the leaders of tomorrow. The Sisters in Arms event solidifies that the Soldiers at Camp As-Sayliyah are proud and motivated to be bestowed that responsibility.