The first female commander of Fort Gordon spoke at the first luncheon solely for the women of Brandon Wilde.
Gen. Janet Hicks was the inaugural speaker at a monthly luncheon sponsored by women living at Brandon Wilde retirement community. They held their Women Hosting Women luncheon Tuesday.
Hicks' speech focused on the strides women have made in the military and the growing importance of communications in modern warfare.
One of nine female generals in the Army today, Hicks spoke to about 80 women at the luncheon. She said she wore her fatigues to the event for a specific reason.
"I wore my combatant uniform today, because there was a time when women were not allowed to wear this uniform," she said. "We were once relegated to a skirt and blouse. So I decided to wear this uniform to show you how far we have come."
Fort Gordon commander Brig. Gen. Janet Hicks visits with Brandon Wilde
resident Ninette Reeves before the start of the first Women Hosting Women luncheon.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The general said that women make up one-quarter of U.S. Army personnel and they, like men, are ready to meet the ever growing challenges faced by the military.
"We're the smallest Army ever since Pearl Harbor, yet we've tripled our mission load," Hicks said. "That's a pretty big burden on the shoulders of the Army.
"We could just as easily be found fighting forest fires as terrorists. We provide medical care. We build after hurricanes and earthquakes. We help support peace, like now, among people who have been fighting for centuries over religious or ethnic differences."
During her speech, Hicks didn't directly address the possibility of Fort Gordon being included on the base realignment and closure list to be released next year. But she did say that more than 20,000 troops from all branches of the military train at the fort annually and that communications is one of the most vital aspects of any military campaign.
"The importance of Fort Gordon's Signal Corps to the Army is readily known by Army leadership," she said. "Vast advances in technology are changing every aspect of our lives and our world. They have also created new challenges to our nation's well-being.
"In response we're in a dynamic process of transforming the armed forces. The Army Signal Corps across the world is at the forefront of these changes, and we are making those changes at Fort Gordon, Ga."
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