JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Brooke Army Medical Center held a Women’s History Month observance March 12 in the hospital’s Medical Mall. The event honored women who fight all forms of discrimination.
“Women of different ethnic and economic backgrounds have been taking up the fight for equality throughout our history,” said Army Col. Traci Crawford, BAMC deputy commanding officer, during her opening remarks.
Crawford provided examples of women whose names were familiar, such as Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Walker and Amelia Earhart.
She then spoke about others whose names were not quite so familiar: Rachelle Horowitz, a key organizer for the 1963 March on Washington; Maria Mitchell, the first woman professional astronomer;.Charlotta Bass, the first African American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States and the first African American woman nominated for vice president.
“Because of the tenacity of these women and countless others, we continue to strive for equal rights and equal pay for all people,” Crawford said. “Today we have many great female role models in business, politics and our military.”
Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, commanding general, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, was the guest speaker for the event.
Pringle spoke about the influential women in her life.
“I am really fortunate,” Pringle said. “I came from a long line of strong women.
The general highlighted her great-grandmother, Fern, and described the hardships she endured during the 1800s traveling from Michigan to settle in Wyoming and how she received her teaching certificate and taught school in a one room school house at the age of 16.
“Talk about grit, strength and perseverance, Grandma Fern exemplified it all,” Pringle said.
Pringle also spoke about some of the military women she has met throughout her own career, including 1st Lt. Josephine Reaves, World War II nurse and veteran of D-Day, who was one of 40 nurses that landed in Normandy during the Battle of the Bulge to care for wounded Soldiers.
The general also mentioned Air Force Capt. Christy Wise among others. Wise is the sixth amputee and the first female amputee to return to the cockpit. She is currently a 71st Rescue Squadron HC-130J helicopter pilot.
The above-the-knee amputee spent about eight months recovering at the Center for the Intrepid at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston learning to walk, run and fly again. She was also the U.S. team co-captain at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.
“They have broken some barriers for us,” Pringle said. “But, realize there is still some more opportunities that we need to pursue. I think we owe it to the next generation to make the most of the time that we have – the opportunities that we have – to pave the way.”
Pringle urged people to take the time to talk to others to find out what their challenges are and help to break down barriers.
“As long as we all have grit and strength and perseverance we will make it a better military and a better way forward,” she concluded.