USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) held a Women's History Month celebration in Hanger Bay 2, March 28, to recognize the contributions of women in the Navy.
The ceremony showed an appreciation for the accomplishments of military women, who have continually fought to expand their role in the Navy and the armed forces.
The ceremony featured two accomplished Navy women as guest speakers, Capt. Katherine Donovan, the assistant chief of staff for Carrier Strike Group 10, and Cmdr. Sara Joyner, commanding officer of the "Gunslingers" of Attack Fighter Squadron 105, the first woman to command a strike-fighter squadron.
Donovan provided a detailed account of women's accomplishments in the Navy discussing everything from the establishment of the Women's Reserve in 1943 to the first females to fly jet aircraft.
"In 100 years, women have entered, endured and embraced all aspects of military life," Donovan said. "The Navy continues to embrace the diversity women bring to the fleet and is proud to be part of attracting top women to the military and compelling them to make it their career."
Donovan related a few of her personal experiences and finished off with a challenge.
"Most of you represent what our future will look like. You will impact how the military looks and acts in the future. 'Will you stand up and make a difference?'" she asked.
After her speech, a special event was held in which female Sailors E-1 to O-6 passed the ensign and exchanged salutes.
During the passing of the ensign, Lt. Cmdr. Regina Cox, Truman's combat systems information officer, read a speech called "Old Glory," which explained the meaning of the Ensign and its long history, she added excerpts about women's sacrifices over the years.
After the flag-passing ceremony, Donovan presented the ensign to Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Latoya Carter, the most junior female on Truman. Carter said it meant a lot to receive the ensign considering she was so new to the ship.
"I'm inspired by receiving such an honor because I'm new to Harry S. Truman and never thought I would be recognized so soon," Carter said.
Joyner explained it is important to recognize Women's History Month because of the strides women have made over the past century to achieve equality with men.
"The road to the equality we enjoy today was paved by the blood, sweat and tears of women in uniform over the last 100 years, and their hard work and sacrifice bears remembering," Joyner remarked.
The Navy began allowing women to serve in combat roles in 1993, and the adjustment was particularly difficult for the first women who participated in the transition, noted Joyner.
"Recognition and respect grew each year as we proved that women could be valuable members of the Navy ... we didn't attempt to lessen the Navy's demands, but instead worked as part of the team to excel as equals," she said.
The ceremony concluded with a benediction by Lt. Cmdr. Sharell Miner followed by a cake cutting ceremony on the mess decks.
The Truman Heritage Committee sponsored and planned the event.
"[The ceremony] was a little different in the way we educated the crew as far as women and the role that we play in the Navy and in the military in general," said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (SW/AW) Nzinga Henderson, the team leader of the Heritage Committee. "We definitely had a good turnout - a good support network."
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