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Army Guard leaders honor Women's History Month

By National Guard Bureau | March 20, 2017

(Editor's note: This letter is signed by Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Kepner, Army National Guard; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Peter T. Panos, Army National Guard and Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard)

Since 1636, women have played a vital role in the Army National Guard as Soldiers, spouses, civilian employees and family. Women are an indispensable part of the Army National Guard team every day, and during the month of March we amplify our recognition of that contribution during Women's History Month. The sacrifices and successes of women strengthen the Army National Guard and our nation.

Even though we recognize the tireless dedication of the nation's women Warriors on a daily basis, we highlight their magnificent contributions every March during Women's History Month. Though women have always been an integral part of our total military team, they have only been assigned to our ranks as officers since 1957 and as enlisted members since 1967. In that relatively short period of time, there has been no shortage of inspiring female leaders in our heritage. To name a few trailblazers: 1LT Sylvia Marie St. Charles Law of Alabama became the first woman to serve in the Army National Guard in 1957; BG Sharon Vander Zyl of Wisconsin, the first women to be promoted to general officer in the Army National Guard in 1998; or Nancy Graff, the first female military technician, hired in 1971. Continuing to the modern day, women are integral to our high-quality all-volunteer force, serving in every role imaginable.

The Army National Guard is proud of our Sisters in Arms. They play an important role in building readiness in their units as Soldiers and leaders. They serve their communities in homeland defense and fight for our nation overseas. Women help to make the Army the finest fighting force in the world, and we owe it to them to set the conditions for all Soldiers to reach their full potential. There is important work to be done in our Army, and women are among those who are able and motivated to do it. Women's History Month is an important moment to look back, and also look forward to future achievements of our female warriors. You are women of distinction, and we're grateful you serve and lead in the Army National Guard.