JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
As the nation celebrated Women’s Equality Day Aug. 26, Brooke Army Medical Center Troop Command marked a milestone. For the first time, the battalion and all five companies are commanded by women.
“It is an exciting time to be a female leader in today's Army,” said Army Lt. Col. Meghan Muller, BAMC Troop Command commander. “I am so grateful for the strong, dedicated and driven women who have preceded me.”
“The Army and the Army Medical Department’s culture has continued to evolve in a positive and encouraging manner,” she added.
“Over the last 18 years, I have been incredibly lucky to have had leaders, both male and female, that developed me and challenged me with tough missions, tasks and assignments. These opportunities were confidence-builders. There's really nothing women cannot accomplish in the Army these days.”
Army Capt. Veronica Waites-Moore, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, agrees. She said being a company commander as a nurse is “awesome.”
“As a nurse, generally, you are in charge of your patients, maybe a team and maybe even the floor,” Waites-Moore said. “But, being a company commander, especially here at BAMC, I have more than 325 people in my company of all different (careers) and backgrounds. I love it. I think it’s an amazing experience.”
Originally from Oxnard, California, Waites-Moore began her Army career in 1993 as a motor transport operator.
“I wanted to join the Army to get away from the city I was in,” she explained. “My uncle, Steve, was in the Army, so I thought, ‘I think I’ll join the Army.’ It just seemed like a way to get away.”
Waites-Moore enjoyed driving trucks for the first 16 years of her Army career, but always wanted to become a nurse after caring for her grandmother who was terminally ill when Waites-Moore was a teenager.
“Originally I only planned on staying in the Army for three years and then going to college to become a nurse,” she said. “My first duty station was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the 82nd Airborne Division and I just loved it. As I started maturing in the Army and the Army started changing a lot, I started thinking it was a good time for me to look back into being a nurse.”
Waites-Moore went to college, applied for the Clinical Nurse Transition Program, and was commissioned at Fort Sam Houston in 2012.
“Capt. Waites-Moore is all-around impressive,” Muller said. “She's exceptionally proficient technically, she's poised and confident, has the presence of a leader, and she understands people. I attribute her high degree of competence to her life experiences as a noncommissioned officer, nurse, mother and now company commander. She teaches me things all the time and I am incredibly lucky to have her on Team Titans.”
Both Waites-Moore and Muller agree it is important to have strong female role models.
Waites-Moore said her role model was her first-line supervisor at 82nd Airborne Division, now-retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Joleen Walker. “She is probably the most amazing female Soldier I have ever met, setting standards for what females could do and how they can lead.”
As for Muller, she said she has benefited from many female role models including Brig. Gen. Wendy Harter, former BAMC commanding general and current commanding general, Regional Health Command-Central, and Air Force Col. Heather Yun, BAMC deputy commander for medical services, among others.
“One of my female mentors is retired Army Col. Kimberly Smith,” Muller added. “She is an Army Nurse Corps officer who served over 30 years. We deployed together in support of OIF with the 28th Combat Support Hospital out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In retirement, she works as a performance improvement lead for the Joint Trauma System, but back in April, she volunteered to return to active duty in support of our COVID response mission here at BAMC.”
“Each one of the company commanders and first sergeants brings their own, unique set of talents to our organization,” Muller said. “I think we are a really competent team right now. My goal is for us to be continuously improving processes, providing realistic training and leader development opportunities and enabling the direct health care mission. We are working hard to earn our Soldiers' trust and confidence.”
“It makes me feel proud, motivated and inspired,” she added. “It also makes me want to work harder to ensure I don't let them down and I keep the positive momentum going.”