In 1948, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act which allowed women to serve in our armed forces. During the 85th Legislative Session in Texas, State Representative Victoria Neave filed House Bill 2698 to designate June 12 each year as Women Veterans Day, a day to recognize and honor women veterans throughout the state. In advance of this special day, we were honored to present an esteemed virtual panel of trailblazing military leaders to discuss their experiences and share insights into what it means to be a woman in today’s military.
Booz Allen Hamilton was the event’s presenting sponsor and guests heard from Matice Wright-Springer, Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Aerospace Business. Wright-Springer began her military career in 1988, serving as the nation’s first African-American, female naval flight officer. She logged thousands of flight hours in both the EC-130 and the E-6 aircraft. After serving in the Navy, she was presidentially appointed to serve as a White House fellow at the Department of Treasury. She returned to government service a few years later as a member of the Senior Executive Service at the Department of Defense. She shared a message about courage and bravery, amidst a changing military culture.
She also challenged all women who have served or are currently serving in the military to visit and register for the Military Women’s Memorial at www.womensmemorial.org and then click on “Make HERstory.” The register is a one-of-a-kind interactive database that records and preserves the names, service information, photographs, and memorable experiences of each registered servicewoman. The register records and preserves the history of the powerful women who have defended this country—both past and present.
The Chamber’s second annual “Women in the Military” panel included remarks from:
- Rear Admiral Cynthia Kuehner, Commander of the Naval Medical Forces Support Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston
- Brigadier General Caroline Miller, Commander, 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, and
- Command Sergeant Major Chantel Y. Sena-Diaz, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston
CSM Chantel Sena-Diaz spoke about the opportunities that the military provided to her. “I was a first-generation high school graduate, with unrealized potential, who went on to join the Army and earn the first bachelor’s and master’s degree in my family. I’ve had the opportunity to serve alongside incredible men and women around the world. One of the things I love about serving is the diversity. The military is one of the most diverse organizations in the nation. Diversity in its people, ideas, beliefs, and skills—diversity is what makes the Army or any branch you serve, the respected organization they are today.” Sena-Diaz continued, “Women distinguish themselves with selfless service, breaking barriers and setting new heights for those who follow. We have begun to see boundaries lifted and barriers torn down. The Army has come a long way in expanding the roles of women over the last three decades that I’ve served, but we still have work to do.”
Female veterans only comprise 10% of the overall veteran population and when leaving the uniform behind – they typically don’t self-identify as a Veteran. The Chamber was honored to shine a light on women in the military and to find out how best to support them, in and out of the service. From peacetime to war, women serve valiantly and lead troops selflessly while also striving for success in their personal lives, and Military City, U.S.A. is home to hundreds of women veterans.
“Many of our great business organizations are proud to employ women veterans from across a wide variety of industry and positions,” said Richard Perez, Chamber President & CEO. “We are humbled by their service to our nation and our community and admire their continued passion and willingness to lead the next generation of women for many years to come. These women have paved a path for future women leaders. They inspire, encourage, and empower our young women who are rising up the ranks and choosing military service as a career,” relayed Perez in his remarks.
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is proud to support our nation’s military and to recognize the invaluable impact that women in uniform have on our nation’s security, providing for important missions across the globe, and in a wide variety of roles and positions.
To watch the event recording, visit our YouTube channel.