by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
8/28/2013 – SOUTHWEST ASIA — Service members from across the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing came out in support of Women’s Equality Day here Aug. 26, celebrating the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote 93 years ago.
The 19th Amendment was a culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women. The observance not only commemorates the passage of the amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
“If you believe it and work hard, you can accomplish anything,” said Lt. Col. Sirena Morris as she addressed women and men alike in the audience. Morris is the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron commander and a Fayetteville, N.C., native.
The colonel’s words and many others quoted during the event served as mentoring points and notes of motivation. One attendee, Senior Airman Vikki Flores, said it was an amazing opportunity to hear Morris talk of her many years of service and the opportunities she’s had along the way.
“Being deployed during this event exponentially increased the effect of her [Morris] message,” said Flores, a 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman deployed from Dover Air Force Base, Del., and an Azusa, Calif., native. “The colonel spoke on the topic of women’s equality, but with an extra emphasis on our advancement in the military.”
In 2013 alone, women in the military have seen many strides, especially in combat and leadership roles.
Earlier this year, the defense department announced the inclusion of women in 237,000 combat positions historically off-limits to women by 2016. Additionally, on Aug. 1, President Barack Obama announced his nomination for Deborah Lee James to succeed the Honorable Michael B. Donley as Secretary of the Air Force, a position never before filled by a woman.
“On this Women’s Equality Day, we honor those who fought tirelessly for a woman’s right to vote,” said Valerie B. Jarrett, a Senior Advisor to the President in her http://www.whitehouse.gov blog post for the day. “But we know there is much more work to do. Let us keep marching forward together.”
A member of the planning committee for the 379th AEW’s celebration, 1st Lt. Nicole Tripputi, said this remembrance is very important because not only was it a turning point for women’s rights, but also reminds all service members the importance of everyone’s contributions to the mission.
“It paved the way for women’s rights,” said Tripputi, the 379th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron commodities flight commander deployed from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and a Lincoln, Calif., native. “The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.”