Army Women Honored for Their Service

Army Women Honored for Their Service

Women standing side by side holding certificates
Photo by: Mattox Photography

Nine women, including several Association of the U.S. Army members, were inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame during a March 21 ceremony at the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

The AUSA member inductees include retired Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, retired Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith, retired Brig. Gen. Maureen LeBoeuf, retired Brig. Gen. Belinda Pinckney, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Yolondria Dixon-Carter and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock.

Also inducted were retired Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelley and Army veteran Lucy Del Gaudio.

“Women have played vital roles in our Army since the Revolutionary War. Today, this ceremony will honor some of those women,” said Maj. Gen. Hope Rampy, the event’s guest speaker and director of military personnel management in the office of the deputy Army chief of staff, G-1.

Since the 2009 creation of the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame, the awards are presented each March in the Washington, D.C., area, according to the organization’s website. Women who have served in the Army and contributed extraordinary service are eligible for induction.

In accepting the award, Gainey said she wouldn’t change a thing about her military service. “I am so thankful for all of the opportunities the Army gave me,” she said.

“I want to thank the soldiers and the NCOs who taught me how to listen. They taught me the power of giving them a voice. … If officers don’t listen, then we have failed our soldiers and the Army,” Gainey said.

Birckhead, who is the adjutant general of Maryland, said she was accepting the honor on behalf of her fellow sisters in arms. “The only reason we continue to have soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines is because of women,” she said.

“I am humbled by the remarkable company I now keep,” said Smith, who in 2012 became the first openly LGBT person to attain general or flag officer rank. “The women of my generation broke glass ceilings because of the women before us who cracked that glass a little bit.”

She encouraged women who are still serving to “go after what you want with all your heart.”

Speaking to the other award recipients, LeBoeuf said that she was “proud to be a part of your cohort.”

This is a moment that matters, she said. “I am humbled to be recognized today … but the reality is, we are powerful and accomplished women. At the end of the day, when we were alone, we were the ones wearing that heavy mantle of leadership.”

“I thank God for all he has done; he continues to do great things, as we’re witnessing here today,” said Pinckney, the first women to attain general officer rank in the Army Finance Corps.

She thanked her colleagues and subordinates during her time in service for their contributions to her career and the Army, saying, “I love being a leader, but I was smart enough to know that my job was to be a resource for those who worked with me and for me.”

Dixon-Carter, the first woman to serve as senior warrant officer adviser to the Army chief of staff, attributed her success to those who came before her. “I am the image of the unseen, the abandoned, the rejected, but I overcame. I am the image of women who were told they couldn’t make it, but they did,” she said.

“I am the image of a soldier who had no clue what she wanted to be, but I was told, ‘In the Army, you can be whatever you want to be,’ ” Dixon-Carter said in accepting the award. “To God I give all the glory; had it not been for him I would not be here today.”

Brock echoed those sentiments. “I’m here because of all the soldiers and civilians who have come before me and who have crossed my path,” she said.

“My mantra is ‘It’s all about people.’ I live it, I breathe it and I believe it,” Brock said, encouraging the audience to “live a good life on purpose, and with a sense of purpose.”

This year’s inductees are part of the Army story, Rampy said. “We draw strength and inspiration from those who came before us,” she said, pointing to milestones such as when the first women entered the regular Army in 1948, and 2016, when women became eligible to serve in every combat role.

“Reflect on the women that have come before you,” Rampy said. “I am proud to serve in an institution where I can be anything I want to be.”

For more on the Class of 2024, click here.