STRAIT OF MALACCA (NNS) -- Throughout the month of March, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer's diversity committee held several events in observance of Women's History Month.
A solutions-based women's focus group, an observance ceremony, cake cutting, and 5K run were spread across the month of March to provide information and culture to 2,467 Sailors and Marines of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The inaugural event honoring the contributions of female service members was a four-day women's focus group aimed at increasing female career Sailor retention. Female Sailors examined the unique challenges females encounter in the Navy and explored potential solutions the Navy can implement to increase retention among the females throughout the rank structure and fleet.
"We are in the world's greatest Navy and I think that has a lot to do with the vast amount of knowledge, experience and diversity," said Senior Chief Quartermaster Aurora Robles, coordinator of the women's focus group. "I think it's important to maintain, embrace and expand that force into the future so we continue learning from one another."
During the women's focus group, Sailors were given a chance to voice their opinion and hear other females' opinions on women's retention in the military.
"Just like men, women are an asset to the armed forces," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Karmen Sales. "This focus group shed light on the issues that women face on a daily basis. The military is what you make it, if you choose to stay in the fight, give it all you've got."
Throughout the sessions, chief petty officers helped lead the focus group. They underscored the value of mentorship among senior and junior Sailors.
"I think that women can do just as much as men in the military," said Robles. "If we teach and instill that 'can do' attitude in our children growing up and mentor our junior Sailors with that same mentality we will set them up for success."
Boxer's diversity committee also organized a Women's History ceremony in the hangar bay, March 19. The speakers highlighted the service, leadership and tradition of women in the Navy focusing on this year's theme - "Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government."
"[We had] great turn outs on both events," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Della Smith, president of Boxer's diversity committee. "Events like these bring unity, and strengthen our culture of diversity aboard Boxer to work together as a team."
The culminating event was a 5K flight-deck run and women's group photo.
"It was great to be a part of something new," said Chief Aerographer's Mate Quintron Perry. "It's easy to get caught up in our daily schedules; however, men and women alike came together on a hot day for a good cause. Events like this define our value of diversity in the Navy."
The Boxer ARG, 13th MEU team is currently on deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Boxer is the flagship of the Boxer ARG, which consists of Boxer, USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/