Women's History Month: Fort Benning honors women in the Army

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 20, 2014 

During a ceremony to "Celebrate Women of Character, Courage and Commitment," Fort Benning's commanding Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster said no group of women fits that description more than those in the Army.

"Women are an integral and essential part of our Army," McMaster told an audience of about 200 during the Women's History Month observance at the Benning Club.

He said women have made contributions in the past and will continue to do so.

Guest speaker Col. Paula Lodi said despite a significant reduction in the number of soldiers because of budget cuts, the Army is still looking for ways to expand the role of women. She said she finds that "remarkable."

Lodi has been in the Army for 24 years and has been at Fort Benning since taking over as commander of the 14th Combat Support Hospital in August.

Lodi has been deployed to Iraq three times and has also served overseas in Germany and Korea. One of her most recent assignments was at the Pentagon.

Among her honors are the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.

Lodi was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps second lieutenant upon her graduation from Rutgers University. She earned a master's degree in public administration from Troy State University.

She said women are 50 percent of the formation she commands.

"I see them do amazing things every day," she said.

Lodi tells the women do not limit yourself by gender and that when an opportunity arises, step up and do your part.

The married mother of two said women she sees entering the Army today are not much different from those who entered when she did, but they perform differently because of training and opportunities given.

"The Army wants to make sure the right people with the right skills have a place to serve," she said. "It is all about being considered equally according to ability."

Lodi said the Army is making sure the right people with the right skills have a place to serve.

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