JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
Throughout March, the Department of Defense (DoD) celebrates Women’s History Month. During this month-long celebration, we recognize the contributions made by women that have shaped this nation’s history. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSOUTH/FOURTHFLT) hosted an event with a panel of speakers and subsequent discussion in honor of this month’s celebration.
Cmdr. Julie Schaub, health security corporation officer for USNAVSOUTH/FOURTHFLT, organized the event. What originally started as a small-scale event within the command, grew to a base-wide event with women from various installations participating in the panel. Schaub selected senior ranking women to participate in the discussion to give a historical perspective of their experience as women in the military, and to complement the DoD theme for this year’s Women’s History Month, “Women Who Tell Our Stories”.
When asked what piece of advice she would give to women in the military, Schaub said, “Don’t let historical norms be barriers, you can become whatever it is you want to be.”
Schaub aids in planning the annual Continuing Promise (CP) mission, a U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) directed mission that provides medical, dental and veterinary aid to Latin American countries. She has always been passionate about the medical field and now works in her position to ensure that USSOUTHCOM’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) strategy is incorporated as a CP line of effort.
WPS is a United Nations initiative that started with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 signed in 2000. The UNSCR 1325 was a public acknowledgement that women are more adversely impacted by conflict and crisis, and including them in security planning would lead to a more peaceful world. In 2020, the DoD signed the WPS Implementation Plan to move toward full WPS implementation. USSOUTHCOM’s WPS program provides engagement opportunities to reinforce women’s empowerment, participation in decision-making, protection from violence and access to resources.
The eight women that participated in the panel shared over 165 years of military service. One of the panelists was Capt. Christine Sears, surgeon for USSOUTHCOM. Within her 30 years of service, she served as the CP 2015 medical facility treatment commanding officer aboard the USNS (T-AH-20) Comfort while assigned to USNAVSOUTH/FOURTHFLT as the command surgeon.
Capt. Carolyn Currie, director, training and professional development division for the Uniformed Services University (USU) Center for Global Health Engagement, was another member of the panel. Currie served as the WPS lead for CP 22 and incorporated WPS as a line of effort (LOE) for the first time in CP history. During the CP 22 mission there were gender based violence workshops, symposiums and roundtables in various partner countries in Latin America. The work that Capt. Currie did for CP 22 paved the way for all CP missions, which will now permanently include the WPS LOE.
“Women, Peace and Security is not just about women, because it impacts everyone,” Currie said.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.