NECC Members Provide Sound Advice During “Women in the Military” Seminar

By MC3 Lauren Booher, NECC Public Affairs

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Military service women pose for a group photo following the “Women in the Military” seminar, Hampton, Va., Feb 10. Photo by MC3 Lauren Booher

The bell sounded and amidst the shuffle of students transitioning between classes, female undergrads trickled into the auditorium. Some were timid, a few made comments about what branch they were interested, but all were curious about the women in uniform.

During a “Women in the Military” seminar, female service members shared their experiences with students from Hampton High School, Hampton, Va., Feb. 10. After introducing themselves, service members and students moved to the cafeteria where they broke up into smaller groups.

“We weren’t there to recruit,” said Cmdr. Eileen D’Andrea, assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). “I feel like I helped clarify misconceptions about life in the military.”

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Cmdr. Eileen D’Andrea, assigned to NECC, speaks to female students from Hampton High School during a “Women in the Military” seminar, Hampton, Va., Feb 10. Photo by MC3 Lauren Booher

Some of the misconceptions were that everyone in the military has to live on base, it is extremely strict and regimented, and the only jobs available are combat related.

“I learned that women could do things that are stereotyped for men,” said a student. “Usually when I see military all I see is men. I don’t see women doing things like construction or architecture. There’s even a [military] cop here, too. If she’s doing that, then I can do that.”

The main emphasis was to provide interested students with information about military life from a female perspective, and then allow them to use that information and make an informed decision, said D’Andrea.

Students asked questions about moving, military entrance requirements, physical fitness, Afghanistan, family life and even whether you need to know how to swim to join the Navy.

“There are mainly women in our JROTC program,” said Senior Master Sgt. Deb Clark (Ret.), U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC teacher, Hampton High School. “Hearing it first from women who are actually in the military, living it, breathing it, it means so much more to them. It gave them the chance to ask any of the burning questions they may have or even give them a reality check.”

The reality check being that joining the military requires taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which is a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military; or attending college to become a commissioned officer. Service members gave varying advice to the female students, but the main message remained the same: educate yourself.

“She [D’Andrea] gave me advice…go to school and get your education, because that’s something no one can take away from you,” said another student.

Sailors from NECC are already making plans to participate next year so Hampton High School’s Women in the Military seminar will continue to be an annual event.

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Cmdr. Eileen D’Andrea, assigned to NECC, speaks to female students from Hampton High School during a “Women in the Military” seminar, Hampton, Va., Feb 10. Photo by MC3 Lauren Booher


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