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Benelux community honors women who fight discrimination:March is Women’s History Month, and it is a time to recognize the contributions made by women. The U.S. Army Garrison Benelux community held a special event to honor women in the U.S. military March 29 at the chapel on Caserne Daumerie in Chièvres, Belgium.

Many women fought against discrimination in the U.S. military. There are many role models such as Pilot Bernice “Bee” Haydu who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. Some women joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, also known as Women’s Reserve, where Harriet Pickens and Frances Wills were the first African-American officers in the U.S. Army.

Army Col. Debra Lewis is another notable figure in military history. She was one of the first female cadets to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. She was “exposed to extremely harsh negative words of disrespectful responses.” However, she affirmed that she “developed a talent for finding productive ways to deal with such situation.” That is how she became the first female Soldier to command the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts in Philadelphia and Seattle, and the first woman to command an engineer brigade in Iraq in 2006.

These women fought to be considered as humans rather than as women. Coast Guard Capt. Eleanor L’Ecuyer volunteered to join the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, and her choice would forever impact policies and increase opportunities for women serving in the Coast Guard. She is the one who argued that being pregnant was not a disabling condition.

During the event, Army Master Sgt. Delonica K. Boyce spoke about L’Ecuyer. Boyce entered the Army in 1995 and has a daughter. She proved that L’Ecuyer was right. It is possible to be a mother and a Soldier at the same time.

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