Women’s Equality Day event celebrates progress

“Chipping Away at Inequalities,” a community event at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, celebrated the anniversary of women’s right to vote Aug. 26. At the lunch-time gathering on Women’s Equality Day, three guest speakers shared their perspectives on women in the military.

Capt. Triada Cross, commander, Contingency Command Post Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, and Col. Trina Rice, deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Europe, shared stories of success and progress as women serving in the military. Lt. Col. Edwin Escobar, director of Emergency Services, USAG Wiesbaden, shared his observations about the differences in how women are treated across world cultures.

As a young adult at West Point, Cross related her need to prove herself as worthy of her admission to the elite school. Now, as a commander, she confidently leads without worry over her status as a black woman. “Thank you to all of those who laid the groundwork for me to be here today,” she said.

Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Col. Trina Rice, G1, U.S. Army Europe, shares her story of overcoming fear and becoming a champion for the rights of women to prove themselves capable of meeting all Army standards at the “Chipping Away at Inequalities” event at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Aug. 26. The event, sponsored by the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe, was a part of Women’s Equality Day celebrations.

Escobar, a first generation American, shared his witness of world travels and cultural differences that make him grateful for the U.S. Army. “I am proud to be a part of the Army during this time,” he said. “We are brothers and sisters in arms.”

Rice spoke about overcoming fear as she navigated college and her Army career. “Nothing more than an opportunity to succeed was afforded to me,” she said. While stationed at the Pentagon, she fought for women to have the opportunity to participate in the Army ranger school. She justified the inclusion of women to many audiences of men by saying, “If I fail, let it be because I failed the standards, not simply because some guy said I can’t do it.”

Spc. Khadijah Terry, paralegal specialist, Office of the Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Europe, narrated the observance. “I was impressed by the event,” she said. “As a Soldier in USAREUR, it’s easy to forget that seeing such high ranking women is a privilege,” Terry added. “We are surrounded by women who have shattered the glass ceiling or helped other women shatter it.”

For Terry, Cross made a key connection with present-day challenges. “Capt. Cross’ mention of constantly going above and beyond to prove herself worthy to others is a battle most women are currently fighting,” she said. “Her realization of understanding that she doesn’t have to prove herself to anyone is a lesson that we all can learn from.”

Approximately 40 people attended the event and sat in physically distanced seats and rows at the Tony Bass Auditorium. The Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Europe sponsored event concluded with awards presented to the speakers and volunteers who helped organize and run the celebration.