• Post celebrates women in history

  • Pollard talks about women in history.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Deborah Sampson, the first known American woman to impersonate a man and serve in combat; Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for her services at Bull Run; Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star for engaging the enemy in direct combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Pritchett, former-Combined Arms Center command sergeant major, and the first woman to be nominated for the position of Sergeant Major of the Army in 2000.
    Sgt. Maj. Robin Pollard, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention), spoke about these women and several others during her remarks at the Women’s History Month luncheon March 7 at the Frontier Conference Center.
    “There are common themes found in the description of these women — brave, fearless, courageous and trailblazer,” Pollard said. “We all have the power to influence the direction our world is headed in, and National Women’s History Month reminds us of that.
    “Women have had a long history of serving their country, from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terror,” she said. “Throughout this time period, women’s roles have continuously evolved in leadership positions and military occupations. Women’s History Month gives us the ability to recognize the women who have played important roles in setting the stage for generations of women who followed in their footsteps like myself.”
    Pollard said she was unaware of all the contributions made by women in military history.
    “It is important to discover stories throughout our history to give us a better understanding of historical breakthroughs that took place for the opportunities we receive in our individual lives,” she said. “Throughout my early career, senior women noncommissioned officers were not in abundance, and there were not a lot of female NCOs I could emulate in my NCO support channel.
    “Oftentimes, as a sergeant or staff sergeant, I was the highest grade of any enlisted female soldiers in the formation. Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to serve with an increasing number of women field-grade officers and senior noncommissioned officers,” she said. “These opportunities we are receiving today is because of the fearless women soldiers who went before us in the officer and enlisted ranks.”
    Continuing her speech, Pollard focused on the theme for the 2019 Women’s History Month — Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence. She spoke of the 11 Visionary Women honorees of 2019, and the 16 female recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, 11 of whom were activists and led peaceful movements.
    “We need to take the time to honor the brave women who have directed efforts to end war, violence and injustice, and led the way of using nonviolence to change,” Pollard said. “They developed nonviolent methods to ensure just and peaceful results. Each of these champions of peace have given the power of speech to the voiceless and promise to the victims of violence and wars.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It is important to acknowledge the significant roles women have played throughout history so they are not overlooked or forgotten,” she said. “I am excited to watch what unfolds in our future based on the many historical milestones reached for women during my time in service.”
    Col. Caroline Horton, commander of the 15th MP Brigade, presented Pollard with a gift after her speech.
    “I thought you did a really good job bringing in all the perspectives from women in the military, and women in regard to humanitarian, non-violent, peaceful advances, but also your personal perspective,” Horton said. “All of us here are leaders of females, and I think these monthly lunches that we have, no matter what the minority is, I think we all walk away refreshed with a new perspective and we usually learn something that we didn’t know before. I encourage all of us to walk away and remember as we lead our female soldiers where they’ve been and where we can hopefully move them to in the future.”
    The next CAC and Fort Leavenworth observance luncheon, honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 9 at the FCC.
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