ARABIAN GULF (August 26, 2015) – Sailors and Marines celebrated Women’s Equality Day on the mess decks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Aug. 26.
The celebration marked 95 years since passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Cmdr. Kim Donahue, the command Chaplain, spoke at the event to reflect on her experience with the progress of women in the military.
“Since I‘ve been in [the military], women’s equality has been a given,” said Donahue. “When it comes to equality, if you’re really equal, you should be capable of pursuing an exciting demanding career. Then you should be able to continue on to take on more and more responsibility. And that’s been my experience.”
In 2000, Donahue was the first female chaplain onboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the same year Capt. Kathleen McGrath became the first woman to command a U.S. warship while deployed in the Arabian Gulf.
“I was very proud, and yet it didn’t matter. I had a job to do. It really doesn’t matter what gender I am. It’s my calling, my job, my profession. I was just thrilled to be on a carrier period,” said Donahue.
After 17 years of service Donahue said she was honored to have the opportunity to speak to the younger generation of military women.
“Women have a lot of determination to join into something that is a predominantly male profession, which is war fighting,” said Donahue. “I think this is the case for most women in the military, myself included, that I never looked at myself as a pioneer. I just thought it was my right. It’s open to me, I want to do it and so I’m going to do it.”
Some of Donahue’s experiences throughout her civilian and naval career, as woman of many firsts, left an impact on the Sailors.
“I really liked the Chaplain’s story,” said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Reshae Davenport, from Cleveland. “I thought it was very personal and impactful. I also liked the song that the choir did. It was really emotional and overall, it got me feeling spirited about the whole movement. It made me feel really proud about the history of women in the military.”
Following Donahue’s speech, an all-female group from TR’s choir took to the stage, along with a cake cutting and video presentation.
Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 90) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephane Belcher, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs
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