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Military

By USAF Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke

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Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor
Celebrates History Of American Fighting Women

(November 16, 2010)

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Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall celebrates the history of the American fighting woman during her Veterans Day speech Nov. 11, 2010, at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Chief Jelinski-Hall is the National Guard senior enlisted advisor. U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Leisa Grant
Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall celebrates the history of the American fighting woman during her Veterans Day speech Nov. 11, 2010, at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Chief Jelinski-Hall is the National Guard senior enlisted advisor.
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Leisa Grant
ARLINGTON, Va., (11/12/2010 - AFNS) -- Women who served in the Women's Army Corps, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, the Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services ... were not always considered equals, but they continued to voluntarily serve in defense of their nation ... they continued to prove their mettle, the senior enlisted advisor for the National Guard said.

"It is my honor to stand on the shoulders of great American service women who made it possible for females to serve in leadership positions," Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall told an audience here Nov. 11 at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. "I will continue to share the heroic stories of women, so that generations to come will know of their tremendous sacrifice to this nation."

Chief Jelinski-Hall said early women warriors like Air Force Capt. Norma Parson, the first female to join the Air National Guard in 1956, should be remembered.

"These women were true trail blazers," she said.

"In the face of much opposition and joining in what was then a 'man's world,' they overcame countless obstacles to serve with honor and
distinction," she said. "The question for those of us serving today is simple: 'What path will we blaze?'"
Chief Jelinski-Hall said she sees pride, honor and determination in today's female service members.

"Just as our predecessors did, when you are confronted with a situation that calls for strength of character, I know you will respond as they did," she said. "You will make the right decision. You are blazing a new path for those who will follow you."

Confronting challenges will never be easy or comfortable, but it will be always be necessary, Chief Jelinski-Hall said adding that when one is confronted with such a situation, she should recall the words of President Abraham Lincoln: "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is going forward in the face of fear."

In 2005, Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, a military police officer in the Kentucky Army National Guard, became the first female Soldier awarded the Silver Star since World War II.

Building the legacy of the American fighting woman has come at steep price. Records show that more than 80 women were killed in battle during the Civil War and Spanish American War. Hundreds of women lost their lives in World War I and Word War II. Today, to date, more than 130 women warriors have paid their last full measure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These women broke barriers," Chief Jelinski-Hall said. "It is fitting today that we meet at the women's memorial next to this hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery, to remember those brave men and women who have gone before us.

"Thousands lie here in peace, having made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom the world over," she said. "(And) this is just a small part of the history of the American fighting woman ... this is our history."

Chief Jelinski-Hall said history will show that American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen are unlike any other military in the world.

"We have not fought for a king, for pay, for plunder or for land," she said. "Since the founding of our nation, our service men and women have fought to defend our freedom and the freedom of others around the world."

Veteran's Day gives us an opportunity to thank all veterans and to pay respect to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, Chief Jelinski-Hall said.

Today, we are ... all wearing the uniform of the finest military in the world, serving with courage, honor and distinction in the fight," she said.

"We're driving in convoys, manning security posts, flying combat missions, conducting medevacs. Women are taking on new roles and responsibilities ...we are putting our lives on the line everyday ... as it should be."
By USAF Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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