Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Darrell Stembridge

Women play a vital role in today’s Army and there is about 3,000 women assigned to the First Team. They are the Soldiers on the front-line; they are leaders, officers and noncommissioned officers standing with our troops; as well as employers, spouses, mothers and sisters who offer critical support to our Troopers. To celebrate this month, the 1st Cavalry Division highlights the women tankers of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team.

Fort Hood, TX- From the Revolutionary War to current operations around the globe, women have played an unprecedented role in the defense of our nation. During the month of March, we celebrate the many contributions; as well as the courage and sacrifice of women who served across the U.S. Army as leaders on the battlefield and at home station.

The First Team is committed to fostering an inclusive climate, which includes ensuring female Troopers receive equal opportunities to serve in all military occupational specialties and hold positions at all levels of leadership.

Within the 1st Cavalry Division today, women make up over 15 percent of the formation and support the mission by serving in a range of roles including logisticians, mechanics, military intelligence analysts, fire support specialists, aviators and tankers.

Earlier this year, Sgt. Cinthia Ramirez, a female tanker assigned to Avenger Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, made history for being the first female active-duty Soldier to graduate from the U.S. Army Master Gunner Course for the M1A2 Abrams tank.

“I didn’t pass the first time and I got down on myself,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t want to go back. Thankfully, I had some amazing people on my side that believed in me and reminded me of my potential. Mistakes shouldn’t stop you from wanting to be a better person. So, just because we as females might fail the first time we try, it doesn’t mean we stop. We have to keep going and pushing.”

Last spring, women serving with the First Team also broke down barriers when 1st Lt. Janel Tracy, tank commander, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat led an M1A2 Abrams tank crew during the Sullivan Cup 2022 competition. Tracy’s crew spent around a month preparing for the competition understanding the challenges they would face while competing against other top-tier armor vehicle crews.

“It was a challenging experience, but we worked as a team and that’s when we did our best,” Tracy said following the event. “We had fun and the competition made us a closer crew.”

Sgt. Cinthia Ramirez,1st Battalion 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, became the first female to graduate the M1A2 Abrams Master Gunner course. “Getting into Master Gunner school was so hard, but that just made me even more determined to get in. Everyone kept telling me how hard it was, and I wanted to see for myself just how hard it was – and they were not wrong. I just want people to realize that just because you were never the best soldier, or you’ve been in trouble – you can change and turn things around. The mistakes I made as a private will not define who I am as an NCO and a leader.” Ramirez said.

Female leaders across the division have also stepped up to create the “Sisters in Arms” a mentorship program designed to support women in the Army with mentorship, career progression, camaraderie, and the development of support networks.

“I chose tanking because I have always been fascinated with the idea of tanks and the entire infrastructure of them,” Pvt. Anastasia C. Narine, Tanker, Alpha Co., 3rd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division said. “I figured why not serve my country by doing something I find interest in? I want to help and fight for the men and women who cannot fend for themselves. I hope to inspire other aspiring Americans that have dreams to join the United States Army.” The 1st Cavalry Division’s celebration of Women’s History Month is about knowing its Troopers, understanding the value each Trooper brings and optimizing what they offer in order to continue building lethal and cohesive teams.

“We are trying to help empower the female population to help them speak out, so they don’t feel like they are in the shadow of males, so that they know we are equal,” 1st Sgt. Wendy Talton, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division said.

Women have served on the “frontlines” with the 1st Cavalry Division for decades and will continue to play a vital role in worldwide missions contributing to the strength and capability of the First Team.

Sgt. Kayci Landes, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, made history in 2016 when she was the first female Soldier to officially become a 19D, Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army. The 1st Cavalry Division’s celebration of Women’s History Month stands as a reminder of the strength the Army has and will gain through having a high-quality and diverse all-volunteer force.