Military News

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spartan sisters in arms conduct all-female jump

by Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Love
4/25 IBCT Public Affairs

4/16/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A single C-130 Hercules approached the drop zone and a line of paratroopers sprouted across the sky from the rear ramp.

This in itself is not a rare occurrence.

But Monday, every one of the paratroopers on the 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division jump was female.

Though women were first allowed to enlist in the regular Army in 1948, women have contributed to the war effort in every U.S. war since the American Revolution in 1775 - before we were even a country.

"It's not hard for females to forget we've come a long way," said Spc. Kaitlyn Neely, a paralegal specialist in the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion. "We used
to just be in the home taking care of children, and now we're out doing just about anything a male can do.

"Being a female in the Army today is the same as being a man in the Army. The Army doesn't treat you any differently," Neely said.

The jump, dubbed the Sisters in Arms jump, supported the Department of Defense observance of both Women's History Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

"As a female in the Army, it can feel like you have more to prove," said Sgt. 1st Class LaKeshia Harris, a platoon sergeant and jumpmaster with 4th Quartermaster Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion. "We can make things happen, and we're here to help finish the mission just as much as the males are. I believe if you try to do better every day, your work speaks for itself, regardless of gender."

The U.S. Marine Corps in Japan provided the C-130 Hercules. However, even the jumpmasters on this Army operation were female.

"I see the Army going in that direction," Harris said. "They understand that we are part of this fight just as much as the males are. The younger generations of Soldiers are looking up to us to make the progress needed to achieve and sustain equality for everyone."

Sisters In Arms started in 2012 as a forum for female Soldiers to help enhance avenues of mentorship and empowerment in order to help women reach their full potential. It has gone viral and spread through the Army worldwide.

Women serve in almost all Army occupations and make up about 15.6 percent of the active-duty Army.

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