Army offers women equality, opportunities


Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

For women with the disposition and work ethic, the Army provides equal opportunity for success in every rank, from enlisted to officer.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brandy Galloway, geospatial intelligence analyst, 24th Military Intelligence Battalion, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, enlisted into the Army Reserves 27 years ago to pay for college. “I was extremely naïve to military service,” she said. “I had asked the Navy recruiter to tell me about the Seal program, not knowing that females were excluded at the time.”


“More opportunities have opened up for us while I’ve been in,” she said. “We can serve in combat arms jobs now; and now we have the Ranger and Special Forces schools as opportunities we didn’t have before.”

“I wasn’t really concerned about would I be able to keep up or not or would I be ostracized for being the minor gender,” Galloway said of her initial job as an imagery analyst. “In the intelligence field, they want you for your brain.”

Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs. Capt. Triada Cross, commander, Contingency Command Post Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, exits a vehicle while discussing vehicle readiness with Soldiers Aug. 10 at the Clay Kaserne motor pool.

Capt. Triada Cross, commander, Contingency Command Post Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, also had no concerns about joining the military. As a self-proclaimed military brat, she understood military culture.

“I had a lot of female role models growing up in the military; there were officers and NCOs that worked for my dad; or friends of the family,” she said. “I really didn’t see any barriers to me being a woman and joining the military. It was a normal thing to do.”

“Once I got to West Point, I realized I was molded to do this,” she said. “A lot of the things my parents instilled in me when I was growing up, like keeping things tidy and organized; doing well under discipline; and having structure, lent itself to a military lifestyle.”

Cross finished West Point and commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2013; completed the basic officer leader’s course; and then served at Fort Hood for four years, including deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. “Once I was done with my time at Fort Hood, I went to the captain’s career course where I qualified as a logistics captain and then I moved here to Germany.” Today, she’s responsible for 600 military and civilian personnel and the logistics of any forward movement or deployments out of Wiesbaden.

Pfc. Katelyn McCurrie information technology specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, enlisted in 2019 and serves under Cross. “She is very inspiring – a woman of color in a high position,” McCurrie said. Nineteen percent of Army officers are women, with the Army outpacing the private sector in the promotion of African American women, according to a 2018 report from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense.

McCurrie enlisted in the Army to pay for college and gain entry into the computer field. Like Galloway, she had no family military experience. She did, however, worry about being an enlisted female. “Given my rank, I thought I’d be treated differently,” she said. “So far, it has been good.”

Like Cross, she said she felt prepared for military life from her traditional Jamaican family who instilled discipline, manners and a hard work ethic. She was also predisposed for the physical demands of basic training. “I’ve done different sports and I’ve done the hard training and brought that mentality when I joined,” she said. “I feel as if I have tough, really thick skin.”

McCurrie sees the Army as an opportunity for all young people, including women, who need to further develop some of those skills she’s already utilizing.

Photo courtesy of Brandy Galloway
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brandy (Valley) Galloway, geospatial intelligence analyst for the 24th Military Intelligence Battalion, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade in 1992 at the time of her enlistment.

After she finishes her five-year enlistment, McCurrie anticipates returning to her home state of Virginia and taking a civilian technology job within the intelligence community. She’ll have earned two degrees – Cybersecurity and Business Management Policy from University of Maryland Global Campus. She doesn’t see military service as her long-term career like Galloway, but rather a steppingstone into civilian life.

“Everyone is given an opportunity to strive; to show off,” McCurrie said of her experiences in the Army.

Despite her promotions and the leadership opportunities she has been given, Cross is uncertain of her future in the Army. While she has not wrestled with career obstacles as a female service member, she anticipates looming choices regarding family planning.

“I know it is not very easy if someone is career driven and also wants to have a family in the military,” she said. “I’m still trying to figure out the balance myself. I’m single, but do want a family someday. I may have to take a step back and say ‘no’ to a couple of assignments to do what is better for family. The Army is taking steps forward like maternity/paternity leave,” Cross said. “I think it is also easier for women to find the type of jobs they want that lend themselves to having a family and family time; It is all about finding that balance and finding what’s important to you.”

Galloway, in fact, experienced the change in maternity leave policy between her first and second child. Instead of being deployable after two months, she had four months to recover. Galloway admits, however, that her military career ambitions came with family sacrifices, only the reverse of what most expect. “I married another enlisted member, and when I chose to go warrant, he chose to separate from the military in order to support my career,” she said.

Galloway, after her many years of service in the same professional role is scheduled to retire at the end of her Wiesbaden tour. While she’s eager to break what she sees as a glass ceiling in her military occupational specialty, the rank of chief warrant officer 5 for a woman, her personal life has become a priority. “If my name is on the promotion list before I have my final transition day, I can rescind my retirement and take the promotion,” she said. “If my name is not on the list, I made the retirement decision based on quality of life, given personal reasons, not professional necessarily.”

Galloway has seen the professional aspect of Army service as a level playing field. “There is equality in military,” she said. “When I see in the news ‘we want fair pay for fair work’  I think, ‘Join the military.’ I receive the same pay.  The military is very compartmentalized, and everyone is the same based on a class system.”

Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Pfc. Katelyn McCurrie, information technology specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, performs motor pool inspection duties Aug. 10 at the Clay Kaserne motor pool. While she’s normally working on a computer, everyone in Contingency Command Post Company is responsible for vehicle readiness.

“There are women who want to prove themselves,” Galloway said. “If they are physically fit and want to be the best they have every opportunity as every job is open to them now.”

Cross reflected on Army changes since her father’s time in service. “It is a different Army now and people are more cognizant of equal opportunities and providing opportunities to everyone,” she said. “It’s not without its challenges; but I think those are challenges you would find in any work environment, especially one that has such high importance like national security and protection of our nation.

“You get the chance to lead and be a part of something that is bigger than yourself, contributing to something worthwhile,” Cross added. “I really like the sense of comradery and family that I feel with the units that I’ve been a part of.”

Galloway sees a sisterhood of service throughout her military career. “I have found that there is always a kinship and there are organizations that support us and celebrate us,” she said. She cited social support groups and the Women’s Memorial at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

The memorial honors all women who have served throughout history and was the site of one of Galloway’s re-enlistments. Every March she encourages other female Soldiers to register with the memorial’s repository of female service members and their stories. “We take a lot of pride in being able to serve,” she said.

For more information on women in the military, see  https://www.army.mil/women/history.

For more information on the women’s memorial/registry, https://www.womensmemorial.org/.