Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faces of Patriotism: Women In the Military

In 2010, the Center for Women Veterans, led by the efforts of Dr. Betty Mosley Brown (USMC) took an active role to raise the visibility of women veterans. The Center for Women Veterans started a successful campaign, HERStory, to profile women veterans. The campaign spread to all branches of the military to highlight the contributions of women veterans, active, and reservists who serve in the United States Armed Forces.

With the branches of the military working to honor women of the armed forces, several independent studies were conducted around the same time that gave statically data on women in the military. One that has been quoted often was conducted by the Pew Research Center that was released in 2011. According to the Pew Research Center:

Women in this decade have made up a much greater share of the active-duty military than they have at any time in U.S. history. Among the ranks of the enlisted, 14% are now women (up from 2% in 1973), and among commissioned officers, 16% are now women, compared with 4% in 1973.
As the share of women in the military increases, so does the share of veterans who are women. The 2010 Current Population Survey estimates that there are just over 22 million veterans, almost 1.8 million of whom are women (8%); and among the estimated 2.2 million post-9/11 veterans, more than 400,000 (19%) are women.

Compared with their male counterparts, a greater share of military women are black.  More than three-in-ten (31%) military women are black (including black Hispanics). This is almost twice the share of active-duty men who are black (16%), as well as more than twice the proportion of civilian women ages 18-44 who are black (15%). In addition, more women in the active-duty force than men in the active-duty force and civilian women ages 18-44 are of mixed racial background or some other race. 

With the increased number of women serving in the military and the growing pool of women veterans, here a few women who we salute:

HERstory, Many-Bears Grinder, Commissioner of TN VA
Commissioner in Afghanistan

Pakistan in Background
In January 2011, Governor Bill Haslam selected Colonel Many-Bears Grinder to be the Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs -- the first female in the State to serve in this capacity. She is responsible for the operation of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs' Field Offices, Claims Office, and four State Veterans Cemeteries. She is also an ex-officio voting member of the Tennessee State Veterans Home Board, which controls the three existing State Veterans Homes, and plans for future homes in Tennessee. Commissioner Grinder serves as the Southeast District Vice President for the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

In order to accept the State post, Grinder retired from the Tennessee Army National Guard as a Colonel with over 35 years of service. She is an Operation Enduring Freedom combat veteran, having served as the Head of Secretariat for the International Police Coordination Board. She traveled throughout Afghanistan, working with international diplomats and police as well as the Afghan leaders and local police officers, to ensure standardized training and equipment for the Afghan Police.

Grinder was inducted into the Fort Benning Hall of Fame in 2004. She is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College. Her military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.

Grinder holds a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and a Master's Degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Commissioner Grinder is a member of numerous military and Veterans associations, including AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Women Veterans of America, Military Officers Association, the National Guard Association of the United States and is also a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.

A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Grinder moved to Tennessee in 1989 where she met and married Ernie Grinder.

HERstory, Colonel Jacqueline Nave

Colonel Nave's Final Flight

Colonel Jacqueline Nave was the Commander of the 118th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) at the 118th Airlift Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard.  Colonel Nave entered the Tennessee Air National Guard in 1986 with a direct commission as a Flight Nurse. 

She served as a Flight Nurse Instructor and Flight Nurse Examiner while assigned to the 118th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.  Her assignments included deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. 

In 1999, Colonel Nave transferred to the 118th Medical Group as the Administrative Officer.  She was commissioned as a line officer in 2000 assigned as a full time technician to Joint Forces Headquarters. Colonel Nave was selected as Deputy

Commander of the 118th Medical Group in 2002.

As one of the first three full time Deputy Commanders in the Air National Guard, Colonel Nave was instrumental in the development and implementation of the manpower study and job descriptions for this position.  Col Nave served as the Commander of the 118th AES from March until December 2007 when she was appointed as the Command Nurse of the Air National Guard and Chief of AE Plans and Operations by the National Guard Bureau.  She maintained oversight for 89 Medical Groups and 10 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons during her two year tour in Washington, DC.  Col Nave coordinated patient movement during the most active hurricane season in history, safely moving more than 500 patients from Texas and Louisiana.  She was responsible for planning the Air National Guard Homeland Security medical response for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.

Colonel Nave returned as the Commander for the 118th AES in November, 2009 and continued until her retirement April 7, 2012.  Under her leadership, the Squadron earned and “Outstanding” on the 2012 Health Service Inspection and “Mission Ready” on the 2012 ASEV.

HERstory, Lt. Colonel Daphne Ferguson-Young, DDS

Lt. Colonel Ferguson-Young

Lt. Colonel Daphne C. Ferguson-Young, a General Dentist and Academician, is currently the Director of the General Practice Residency Program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at Meharry Medical College where she has been a faculty member for 14 years. Lt. It was at Meharry where Lt. Colonel Ferguson-Young made her decision to join the army in her mid-forties. A recruiter came to speak to her students and she enlisted.

A few years after enlisting in the Army, Lt. Colonel Ferguson-Young was sent to the front lines of the Iraq War with the Army’s 380th Medical Company based in Millington, Tennessee.  Lt. Colonel traded her classroom at Meharry for the Desert Sands of the Middle East from 2004-2005.

Her deployment to the Middle East encouraged her to stay in the Army while still continuing to train future dentists.  Her leadership training she received from the military  transitioned into professional career. She participates on several college committees and has served in numerous leadership positions. Lt. Colonel Ferguson-Young is also very active in the community. She served for ten years on the Governing Board of Matthew Walker Community Health Center. She was appointed by Dr. Riley, President of Meharry Medical College, as liaison to visit Hawler Medical College, School of Dentistry, Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq to assist with their curriculum committee. Lt. Colonel Ferguson-Young has also completed the prestigious ADEA Leadership Institute as a scholarship Fellow in 2011.

Here are a few of the awards Lt. Ferguson-Young has received during her military career:

National Defense Service Award-2, Global War On Terrorism Service Award, Army Service Ribbon - 2, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device ( Received two of these), Combat Action Badge, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Photo Credits: Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, 118th Airlift Wing, Genma Holmes
Story Originally Printed in Mocha Market's Faces of Patriotism Edition 


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