Combating Gender Stereotypes, One Soldier At A Time
Over two centuries ago, Deborah Sampson, the first female American soldier, enlisted in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War under the pseudonym Robert Shurtliff Sampson. Since then, more than
1.8 million women have followed in her courageous footsteps to serve their country on the front lines. Now that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the Pentagon’s ban on women serving in combat, Americans should take a minute to remember and honor the women who have put their safety on the line to protect the lives in their country.
Click through for 10 striking photos of women on the front lines that will make you appreciate the soldier responsible for your life, whether she is next door or across the ocean. Photo: Stringer/Reuters
Preparing for Battle
While waiting to be ferried by helicopter to a new U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan, U.S. Army soldier SSG Norma Gonzales of 426 Civil Affairs Battalion reads a magazine next to fellow soldiers. According to a report in the
, of the 6,598 fatal casualties in the Washington Post Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 144 have been women soldiers.
Photo: Erik de Castro/Reuters
Pregnant Soldier Heads Home
A pregnant soldier, Lance Corporal Kelly Barrow of the Army Air Corps, stands before Britain's Prince Charles as he presents her with a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. According to the
, 200 women have returned home from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since 2003 due to pregnancy. Daily Mail Photo: Nigel Roddis/Reuters
Remembering the Troops
The end of a war can leave long-lasting scarring on the inside as well as on the outside. A Canadian soldier sheds a tear during the last Remembrance Day ceremony after that nation's troops ended their combat mission in July 2011. After returning from service, female soldiers have a higher risk of developing
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than their male counterparts. New studies from the Canadian Forces show that 15 percent of female soldiers are diagnosed with PTSD, depression and substance abuse problems, compared to the 13 percent of male soldiers. Photo: POOL New/Reuters
Fixed for Flight
Helicopter repairers for the
U.S. Army must undergo 10 weeks of basic combat training as well as 15 weeks of rigorous Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction. U.S. Army Specialist Nicole Derk of the C Company 3/82 Dustoff MEDEVAC performs a system check on a helicopter at the beginning of her shift to ensure that the equipment is safe and ready to fly. Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters
Taking Teddy Home
Major Amy Gray, occupational therapist of Task Force Bronco, awaits her return home to the U.S. after finishing a year in eastern Afghanistan. Although her 43-year-old teddy bear emerged unscathed from the battlegrounds, others are not so fortunate. In a 2011
report by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 23 percent of OEF/OIF/OND female Veterans reported a history of Military Sexual Trauma after their service in war. Photo: Erik de Castro/Reuters
Music Eases the Hardships
Beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places. U.S. Combat Medic Health Care Specialist Seantella Cottner of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division plays the saxophone surrounded by the whispers of the dead and wounded in her Forward Aid Station tent on the Combat Operation Outpost (COP) McClain in Afghanistan.
Photo: Shamil Zumatov/Reuters
Hatching a Plan for Sustenance
In Afghanistan, the
Nangarhar Agri-Business Development Team has 74 active projects totaling $5.6 million. This soldier from an ADT attached to the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division gathers eggs from chickens they raised to share with locals in Afghanistan's Paktiya Province. Members of the ADT build grain mills and canning factories for fruits and vegetables, operate fish hatcheries, and launch vet clinics for de-worming livestock with the mission of providing the country with a way to sustain its people through improved agriculture methods. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Sharing With the Locals
In a town near Ahmad Khel, Afghanistan, a member of a Female Engagement Team attached to Chosen Company of the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry gives candy to children, while on a helicopter assault mission to improve their biological database of fighting-age males.
Female Engagement Team members interact with women and children to gather information on the local population in countries at war. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
A Welcome Return
Upon returning home, members of the U.S. armed forces and their families are struggling with the worst
financial crises since the Great Depression. Here, Army Corporal Leilani Manibusan holds her nephew in a Dallas airport upon returning to the United States on leave from her tour of duty in Iraq. According to “Homelessness Among Women Veterans,” presented at the 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans by Stacey Vasquez, female veterans are almost three times more likely to be in the homeless population than the non-veteran female population. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
The Price of Poverty: 12 Global Playgrounds Every Child Should Leave Behind
Children around the world, in cities from Jakarta to Mumbai and beyond, frolic every day in conditions that would have U.S. parents rushing their kids to local trauma centers for emergency disinfection.
Poverty, obviously, is the scourge infusing the childhoods in these photos, and we can all agree that
education is key to relieving these dire conditions of impoverishment.
So click on the action button below, and
get these kids into school—where they belong.
Next photo gallery: The Price of Poverty: 12 Global Playgrounds Every Child Should Leave Behind