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                  nurses, and as camp followers, did all the sewing and cooking. Over several generations, women have taken more increasingly significant roles in the military. It is no surprise that throughout life, a gradual change occurs over time. Women in
the military are no exception; they have evolved along with the changing landscape of duties and responsibilities. Women in the 21st century Army look nothing like women from the 19th century Army.
The elephant in the room. Over a 73-year historical period, women have faced many hardships. Discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and not being entirely accepted as a viable part of the military ranks. Sexual Harassment Assault Response (SHARP) was developed to reinforce the Army’s commitment to eliminating sexual assault in the Army ranks. This is not only
a problem that the military faces. It is a societal problem as well.
Throughout the history of women serving in the military, women have always had a presence during combat operations in one form or another. Now women fly fighter planes, serve as combat medics, and serve in artillery units. Fast forward to the
21st Century, the military made some significant changes to Army Regulation 670-1, allowing women to wear alternative hairstyles. Female Soldiers are permitted to wear braids, twists, locks, ponytails, and even cornrows in their hair while in uniform. Women are also allowed to wear earrings while in uniform. Wow, what a change!
In news articles and social media posts, people are exercising their first amendment right to voice their opinions on the many changes occurring
in the military, whether they be good or bad. We should find out why organizational changes are made before we pass judgment. Sometimes change is hard to accept. There will always be someone who is not going to like it, including people in the ranks. However, many more people appreciate change and embrace it.
Women are valuable and have earned the to serve in the military. Women have come a long
way from the idea of serving in the military to becoming a valued, equal partner that is shaping the future of the 21st Century military. We all have the same mission and objective to serve and protect our nation against foreign and domestic enemies. It is genuinely one team with many fights all around the world. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait have all benefited from the contributions of women serving in the ranks. Women have given their lives and lost limbs and provided selfless service while serving in the military. Women are mothers, role models, and leaders. As time continues to move forward, women will continue to evolve and share the spotlight with their male counterparts.
 LTC Jones is the United States Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Deputy Chief of Staff for the Army Reserves.
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