Homeworks academic service


My aim in life is to become a soldier

Billie Jo Boersma said she's glad all branches are now open to women, she hopes for the day when gender no longer becomes an issue because gender barriers of all types will be gone and with it, the culture that divided.

Boersma, who is the sergeant major for Army's Soldier For Life program, or SFL, said she's had the good fortune to have not encountered very many gender barriers in her 24-year Army career and as a child.

As a youngster, she said she played a lot of baseball with the boys and didn't really give it any thought until she turned 16. At that juncture, she was told by game officials that she would have to join the girl's team to continue playing, so she said she did. She was around the boys all the time because she was very athletic, she mentioned. Besides that, she had an older and a younger brother to play and fight with. One day when Boersma was riding her bicycle to the sports club, she said she saw an Army recruiting office and on a whim, she went inside and enlisted.

She was 21 and it was in October 1991, not long after Operation Desert Storm had ended. No one in her family had ever been in the Army, so she knew she was breaking new ground.

Little did she realize she'd make a career of it, she said. Her parents brought her up with strong values and a good work ethic, competitiveness and never quitting, she said, so that dovetailed nicely with what the Army was and is all about. Boersma described her 24 years in the Army as rewarding. She highlighted a few of her experiences and her thoughts. It was her stint as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from 2002 to 2003. While it was her toughest job, she added that it was also her most rewarding.

You've done what I couldn't do in 18 years.

That position was for a male Soldier at the time, she said. But Boersma explained she had the good fortune of serving with the brigade's commander, Col. Also, she accompanied him to meetings with tribal leaders and government officials.

  1. She was 21 and it was in October 1991, not long after Operation Desert Storm had ended.
  2. Afghan women looked up to her and Boersma said she thinks she made a difference. That position was for a male Soldier at the time, she said.
  3. A stereotype exists that all Afghan males are misogynists and treat their women badly. Originally Posted by kamii mistakes are appreciated but criticism is not allowed because i am new aspirant so criticism of any one may be demorale me.

He didn't require her to cover her face or head, she added. Afghan women looked up to her and Boersma said she thinks she made a difference. In turn, Boersma said she looked up to her Afghan women counterparts who'd made it big in their army, police force or government.

A stereotype exists that all Afghan males are misogynists and treat their women badly.

While some do, this just isn't so for the vast number, she said. Many men are happy to see women succeed. It will take years and even decades for women just coming into those branches to put in the years to get to brigade-level and higher leadership positions. It's not an option to lateral move a senior female NCO from one branch into a previously closed one, so getting there will take time and young female Soldiers will be the ones doing it.

Ostlund made that happen. Being a mentor doesn't mean coddling them, however, she added. They still have to perform. In a way, it's perhaps a little tougher for female Soldiers, she said.

If one of them presents a sloppy appearance in uniform, it tends to reflect badly on all women. She and her husband, Calvin, knew McKenna and were good friends.

Calvin is still in the Army, serving in Special Operations Command. For instance, family life comes with its own sets of responsibilities.

Soldier For Life sergeant major aims for no gender barriers

One of them was caring for her son, Derek. That can be hard when she or her husband were deployed separately or simultaneously, she said.

  • Boersma, who is the sergeant major for Army's Soldier For Life program, or SFL, said she's had the good fortune to have not encountered very many gender barriers in her 24-year Army career and as a child;
  • Little did she realize she'd make a career of it, she said;
  • The word is still spreading, she said;
  • Soldiers like to volunteer and their leadership and values are great assets to any community.

That sort of thing required a backup plan, and that's where friends and family came in to assist, she said. She said SFL is rapidly growing, but is still very much a work in progress. By that, she said she means that SFL has been working to connect communities across the country with Soldiers and Army retirees.

It's a win-win for everyone when they do that, she added.

Soldiers like to volunteer and their leadership and values are great assets to any community. The word is still spreading, she said. The Army is all about people and SFL is in the people business, from the time a young man or women joins the Army to the day they die, they remain Soldiers For Life.