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Youth parade, Spring Fling carnival, CDC classroom activities planned for Month of Military Child at Lee SEE PAGE 3

Fort Lee

SERVING THE COMMUNITY OF FORT LEE, VIRGINIA, SINCE 1941

March 28, 2019 | Vol. 79, No. 13

Professionals

Lee WHM program shows power, perseverance of women throughout history SEE PAGE 5 REGIMENTAL CWO SHARES STORY OF PERSEVERANCE CW5 Maria Martinez reflects on a career shaped by the hard-working example of her immigrant family and a determination to excel in a less-disciplined past Army

CHAPLAINS PLAN SUNRISE SERVICE The April 21 event at Williams Stadium will feature music, a special message and breakfast

TRANSLATERS HELP ACCIDENT VICTIMS Two post workers among volunteers answering call for Chinese linguists after Prince George bus crash

DECA DISHES UP HEALTHY IDEAS Using colors, symbols and prepared recipe examples, the Commissary is upping its nutritional eating game

SEE PAGE 8

SEE PAGE 4

SEE PAGE 5

SEE PAGE 11


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CommAnD sPotliGHt | StoppiNg SEXuAl ASSAult

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SuiCiDE

‘Don’t be a bystander:’ CG encourages all to be vigilant of crisis situations

April is recognized by both civilian proclamation signing on April 1, and military communities as Sexual 1130 a.m., in the CASCOM Café. Assault Awareness and Prevention The following are events set for the The purpose of the proclamation is installation: Month. to visibly pledge our commitment For the Department of Defense, • CASCOM and Fort Lee Proclamation to prevent sexual assault and sexual this observance is an opportunity to harassment. Signing – Noon, April 1, at CASCOM lunch room raise awareness of efforts to prevent In addition to the proclamation and respond to sexual assault and to • Garrison Commitment Pledge signing, units and organizations – 11:30 a.m., April 3, in the Garrison support survivors. This year’s theme is will have their own SAAPM events Commander’s conference room “Shaping a Culture of Trust. Protecting throughout the month. I encourage • Golf Scramble our People Protects Our Mission.” you to contact your unit sexual – 12:30 p.m., April 12, at Cardinal SAAPM is an opportunity for every assault response coordinator and Golf Course service member, Department of the victim advocate for additional Army Civilian and family member to • Army Logistics University information about planned SAAPM Color Me Teal Walk – 6:30 a.m., demonstrate a personal commitment events. Remember, “Don’t be a April 15, at ALU to prevent sexual assault and sexual bystander!” • Garrison SHARP/BOSS Bowling harassment in our culture. The phrase bystander is applicable Event – 1 p.m., April 23, at TenStrike In a joint statement, Secretary of the to SHARP and suicide prevention. Bowling Center Army Mark Esper and Chief of Staff When it comes to suicides, we have • 59th Ordnance Brigade SHARP Play of the Army General Mark Milley said, a leading role to be responsible, – 11:45 a.m., April 25, at Lee Theater “Across the Total Army, we continue to protective and caring for our most focus on eradicating sexual harassment • 23rd Quartermaster Brigade vulnerable teammates. Across the Track Meet – 8 a.m., April 27 and sexual assault from our ranks.” To command, we must be attentive at Williams Stadium that end, we all have a responsibility to preventing suicide and remain to take care of each other and not vigilant for signs of individuals be a bystander. The expression “If you see something, say facing a life crisis. something” must be part of our daily routine to ensure that Last year, suicides rose by 18 percent across the regular perpetrators of sexual violence are held accountable and Army. We can do better by ensuring our peers, subordinates victims are protected without fear of retaliation. and even leaders are getting the help they need. Be aware Fort Lee and the Combined Arms Support Command of those around you and look for indicators of suicide. will kick off the installation’s SAAPM observances with a NCOs are on the front line when it comes to looking out

SAAPM Activities

Commanding General ................... Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg Garrison Commander ....................... Col. Hollie J. Martin Public Affairs Officer ............................. Stephen J. Baker Command Information/Managing Editor ...Patrick Buffett Senior Writer/Special Assignments .......... T. Anthony Bell Production/News Assistant Editor .................. Amy Perry Production Assistant............................... Ray Kozakewicz To reach the Traveller Staff, call (804) 734-7147.

for their Soldiers. I am asking them to know their people; to know what their living conditions are; and to get them the assistance and care they deserve whether it’s medical, mental or spiritual help. Make sure those for which you are responsible are not taking unnecessary risks in the execution of their duties or their off-duty time. We can always do more to prevent unnecessary accidents by using the risk management process. Leaders at the execution level are in the best position to identify those hazards to which our Soldiers are exposed and come up with appropriate and effective control measures. Every one of you is a valued member of our team; we cannot accomplish our mission without you. Support Starts Here! – Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general

on tHe CoVer

Fort Lee

The Fort Lee Traveller is an authorized publication for members of the DOD, printed by Gatehouse Media Virginia Holdings, Inc., a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Government, under exclusive written contract with U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee, Virginia. Contents of the Fort Lee Traveller are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government or the Department of the Army. The editorial content of this publication is the responsibility of the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee Public Affairs Office. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement of the products or services advertised by the U.S. Army or Gatehouse Media Virginia Holdings, Inc. Everything advertised in this publication will be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher will refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation has been corrected.

U.S. Army Photo

T. Anthony Bell Privates Tori Hart and Rodesamantha Alexis from Golf Company, 244th Quartermaster Battalion, recite the poem “They are Equal to We” during the Women’s History Month observance here March 21. The poem, written by Hart, describes the struggles and triumphs of women from a historical perspective. For more photos, see Page 5.


Parade, Spring Fling carnival among planned MOMC events

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Held each year in April since 1986, the Month of the Military Child observance is an opportunity to focus national attention on the trials and triumphs of young individuals within the U.S. Armed Forces family. This year’s observance theme – “Military Kids Can!” – pays homage to the strength and personal successes of children in the uniformed services community, and it acknowledges their role in strengthening the military family. “The Month of the Military Child celebration is our opportunity to recognize the youngest members of the Team Lee ;community,” said Darrell Clay, director eof Family and MWR here. “This year, the lmain events at Fort Lee will be held during Spring Break so everyone can participate. tWe hope our military community can find stime to enjoy the festivities.” t Aside from the events open to the public, . o d

File Photo

Military kids and their parents ride in a tiny train circling the Child and Youth Services campus during the Month of the Military Child Spring Fling carnival in April 2018. A similar event is planned for April 5 and will feature inflatables, community resource tables, refreshments, giveaways and more.

individual care centers are hosting a variety “The CYS staff has arranged a bunch of activities for their young patrons. of fun things to do like drive-in movies

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with cardboard cars or creating military art for the centers,” Clay said. “Parents can check with their center to see what kind of exciting activities are in store.” Events open to the Fort Lee community include the following: • Kick-Off celebration and parade set for April 1, 2:30 p.m., starting from the Youth Center parking lot. After the opening ceremony, there will be a parade around the Child and Youth Service Campus. • MOMC Spring Fling set for April 5, 2:30-5 p.m. on the CYS Campus. There will be inflatables, community resource tables, refreshments, giveaways and more. Additionally, Smart Beginnings – part of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation – will be offering Ages and Stages screenings for children six and under to assess developmental and social-emotional levels. • Young Lives, Big Stories contest sponsored by IMCOM G9 Family and MWR (see details in article below). For more information about Month of the Military Child, visit www.armymwr. com/momc. – Staff Reports

IMCOM extends entry invite for April ‘Military Kids Can!’ contest

eSusan A.

Merkner

IMCOM Public Affairs Office

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, FORT SAM ,HOUSTON, Texas – Entries are being accepted from lApril 1-30 for the 2019 Young Lives, Big Stories contest sponsored by IMCOM G9 Family and MWR. The essay and artwork contest is open to children – preschool through 12th grade – of Army active-duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired and surviving spouses. The annual contest coincides with the April observance of Month of the Military Child. This year’s theme is, “Military Kids Can!” When creating entries, children are encouraged to answer the question: What does it mean to you to be a military child? Drawings may be submitted by children, age 3 through third grade. Written submissions may be entered by children in grades four through 12. Entries will be judged for content, form, presentation of the main idea and creativity. Prizes are given for the

Contributed Photo

winners of each age category and there will be one overall winner. Month of the Military Child recognizes and honors military children for their contributions and support to Soldiers and the Army mission. The observance reiterates the Army’s commitment to Soldier and Family readiness and resilience, to excellence in Child and Youth Services, and to a supportive environment where

children can thrive. MOMC was established in 1986. Submissions – which must be accompanied by an entry form completed and signed by a parent, legal guardian or sponsor – will be accepted online and by mail. Find guidelines and more information at www.armymwr.com/ programs-and-services/family-assist/month-militarychild/young-lives-big-stories/ylbs-faq. Margaret Gacutan from USAG Bavaria Grafenwoehr was among the winners in the 2018 Young Lives, BIG Stories contest. Her art piece depicted a girl’s face with one side happy accompanied by thought bubbles reading: “I made new friends” and “My dad is coming home;” and the other side sad with comments like “I don’t know what my new school does” and “My dad is leaving.” The overall winner of the 2018 contest was Sydney Heuer, the daughter of an Army National Guardsmen. A wrap-up article listing all of last year’s finalists, along with art and excerpts of entries – is available at www.army.mil/ article/207493/winners_announced_for_young_lives_ big_stories_contest.


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Tickets Available for Sustainment Ball

Tickets are available for CASCOM’s 2019 Sustainment Ball set for May 9, 6-10 p.m., at Virginia State University’s multipurpose center, 20809 2nd Ave., Petersburg. The event will include dinner and dancing. Tickets are $75. Registration closes April 17. For details, call 804-734-0783.

Exchange MOMC Patches for Military Kids

In recognition of the Month of the Military Child observance, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will give out free iron-on “military brat” patches to Fort Lee community children April 6, 10 a.m., in the Toy Department at the Main Exchange. The event will continue for as long as supplies last to those 17 years old and younger. For details, call 804-861-5970.

Chesterfield CERT Training

File Photo

Chaplain (Col.) Terry Romine, Fort Lee garrison and CASCOM chaplain, delivers the sermon at last year’s Easter Sunrise Service at Williams Stadium. This year’s event is set for April 21, 7-8 a.m., at the same location.

Easter Sunrise Service set for April 21 at Williams Stadium Ray Kozakewicz Production Assistant

Chaplain (Maj.) Nathan Witham, Army Logistics University chaplain, will be the featured speaker at Fort Lee’s Easter Sunrise Service April 21, 7-8 a.m., Williams Stadium. The worship event is open to community members and the general public, and all religious denominations are invited. The theme of the service will be “He Lives.” Music will be provided by a 392nd Army Band brass quintet and the Fort Lee Chapel Choirs. Chaplain (Col.) Terry Romine, garrison and CASCOM chaplain, will welcome guests and offer the Invocation. Other post chaplains will take part in the service by offering a Scripture Reading, A Prayer for Offering, A Pastoral Prayer and Benediction. Witham said his sermon is titled “Why Jesus?” Noting how individuals, to include members of the Christian community, have a tendency to question their belief in the son of God, he referenced the Apostle Thomas who doubted accounts of the resurrection because he could not see or touch the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.

“It’s a story I have a strong connection with,” Witham said in a phone interview, “and I want to focus on that lapse in faith and offer perspectives that will renew strength and give hope to those who spend the morning with us on this most important holiday of the Christian calendar.” Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Keifman, this year’s Sunrise Service coordinator, pointed out the later date of this year’s event and said he’s hoping for cooperative weather. “I know it was pretty brisk outdoors (during last years’ service in March) and our turnout was a little lighter,” Keifman said. “With our later date in April, we would like to have 200 or more people for the Easter Sunrise Service. We hope community members can join us for this time of worship, music and fellowship.” The Sunrise Service’s designated offering, Keifman said, will go to the Fort Lee Rock Solid Youth Ministry to assist in their programming and others mentoring activities. Guests are invited to a continental breakfast following services at the event site. This will feature pastries, hot chocolate, coffee, juice and water. The alternate inclement

SEE SUNRISE SERVICE, page 10

Fort Lee military members and Chesterfield County residents can sign up for a free eight-week Community Emergency Response Team training course April 16 - June 4 at St. John’s Episcopal Church 12201 Richmond St., Chester. Classes are held each Tuesday, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. It will help residents become better prepared for disasters and emergencies. Topics include fire safety and suppression, basic medical care, terrorism awareness, emergency communications and more. For details, visit https://www.chesterfield.gov/385/Community-Emergency-ResponseTeam-CERT.

Transportation Corps ACFT Challenge

Col. Jered Helwig, Chief of Transportation, will host an Army Combat Fitness Testinspired competition May 7, 5-7 a.m., at the Strength Performance Center, 6th St. The ACFT Challenge will be comprised of 3 events – Deadlift and Run, SprintDrag-Carry and Push and Pull. It is open to all active duty military members and DOD Civilians. Only 16 two-man teams will be able to compete, so sign up is recommended quickly. Medals will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each event. To register, visit https://transportation.army.mil. For details, contact Sgt. 1st Class Clifford Kurten at 804-765-7446.

Kenner Awareness Activities for Public Health Week

Kenner Army Health Clinic will hold special awareness activities each day during its observance of National Public Health Week April 1-5. Speakers will address topics such as Health Communities, Violence Prevention, Rural Health, Technology and Public Health and Climate Change. The programs will be held 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., near the Information Desk. On April 3, noon, community members can wear blue and walk a mile with the Preventive Medicine Team. For details on the national observance, visit www.nphw.org.

Free First Time Homebuyers Course

The Virginia Housing Development Authority will hold a free First Time Homebuyers Workshop May 9, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., in room 102A of the Soldier Support Center, building 3400, 1401 B Ave. Participants will learn about personal finance, credit issues, qualifying and applying for a loan, how to receive a first-time homebuyers closing grant and more. The workshop is open to active duty military and spouses, reserve, National Guard, veterans, DOD Civilians and their spouses. For registration and details, visit www.vhda.com or call 804-765-3862.

Join the 2020 Census Team

The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring census takers for the 2020 Census. The positions pay $19 an hour and include training, flexible hours and more. To apply, visit 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-job-2020.


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Women’s History Month

Observance Photos by T. Anthony Bell

(LEFT) Retired Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey, a former logistician, discusses effective leadership techniques and stumbling blocks during her featured presentation at Fort Lee’s Women’s History Month observance March 21 in the Lee Theater. Gainey wrapped up her 35-year military career in 2013, last serving as deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (TOP RIGHT) The Take Four music group performs R&B and Motown favorites for the filled-to-capacity crowd at Fort Lee’s WHM observance. (BOTTOM RIGHT) Retired Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey talks with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jermain C. Williamson, Transportation Corps Regimental CWO, and Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence T. Scarborough, TC’s Regimental CSM, following the WHM observance. Gainey, a former transportation officer, was the guest speaker for the event and talked about various aspects of leadership during her time at the lectern.

Fort Lee volunteers provide translation help after accident T. Anthony Bell

Senior Writer/Special Projects

Fort Lee’s role as a community partner was underscored last week when a call for support in the wake of a fatal bus crash in neighboring Prince George County was promptly answered by installation personnel. The March 19 crash, which occurred on the I-95, Exit 45 off-ramp near Crater Road, killed two people and injured several others among 56 passengers on board. No other vehicles were involved in the 5:22 a.m. incident. The cause is under investigation. PGC Fire and EMS, which responded to the scene, put out a county-wide call for translators when it determined a number of passengers primarily spoke Mandarin Chinese. Two Team Lee members were among the volunteers who showed up to render the

needed assistance at the PGC Central Wellness Center that served as the medical care facility/staging area for victims. James B. Owens, director of PGC Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management, said the translators’ value was undeniable. “Fort Lee did an outstanding job with the other people we had trying to interpret between the caregivers and first responders here and those who had the language barriers,” he said. Li-Ping Hsu, a Software Engineering Center-Lee computer scientist, was one of the volunteers who made their way to the CWC during the course of the day. The Kaohsiung, Taiwan native said about 25 crash victims intermittently arrived at the facility during her stay. Roughly 15 were Mandarin Chinese speakers, she estimated.

“I spoke to almost all of them,” she said. “They were anxious. Some were frightened, and some were in pain.” During their stay at the CWC, passengers were provided with support services and shelter and comfort items. Some had arrived from area hospitals after being treated for minor injuries. Volunteers provided comforting words as they awaited alternate means of transportation or the arrival of friends and relatives. Hsu said she spent most of her time there relaying victim’s needs to CWC support personnel and translating instructions as the Chinese nationals registered with the Red Cross. Christy Carneal, Fort Lee Red Cross program coordinator, also was at the CWC in an official capacity. She witnessed the translators in action, and said the outcomes might

have been different if not for their presence. “Disasters bring out the best and the worst in people,” she said. “Yes, you hear stories about those who take advantage of people during a crisis situation … but (one of the things I witnessed today was a Soldier) who was able to talk to this man lying on a cot who had just suffered an unimaginable tragedy, and he was able to talk to him in his own language to tell him things will be OK. It touches you and makes you realize how much good is still in the world.” The Soldier, who declined being interviewed, and Hsu’s efforts are representative of a willingness on the part of Fort Lee military members and civilians to step up when they are needed. Installation personnel routinely support a wide assortment of charities, care facilities, veterans’ SEE TRANSLATION HELP, page 10


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A release of emotions

To help pay the bills, Martinez’s father worked on railroads across the border in the U.S., and would bring her dresses and other gifts from his travels. Like any adoring daughter, she was enchanted with the life she knew. “I had my mother’s love and my dad would bring me things from the states. I never knew I was poor until I joined the Army, really,” she said. Martinez and her family moved to Houston while she was still in kindergarten. As her dad followed work opportunities, they would subsequently relocate to Rock Springs and then on to Comstock, Texas, a southwestern ranching town situated roughly 35 miles from the Mexican border. “There are only 200-300 people there,” Martinez recalled. “Caucasians and Mexicans were all I knew.” Along with her first inklings of what poverty looked like. Comstock had no factories or mills, only a border patrol and large ranches. The townsmen worked long hours as ranch hands – caring for livestock and doing odd jobs around the properties as Martinez’ father did. Townswomen worked as domestics in the homes of “the Americans” as her mother did. “I would see my mother work so many hours,” she tearfully remembered. “She would get paid $250 a month to wash all the dishes in the morning, wash their clothes and clean the house. But she always took time to dress me to go to school; me and my brothers. I think I have a lot of shoes now because I only had one or two pairs as a child, and I would always rotate them. My mom sacrificed a lot for us.” In addition to the family’s fragile financial situation, Martinez was saddled with English language problems during her elementary school years, and was bullied as a result. Furthermore, her academics were subpar, she said. “I was always in trouble,” Martinez recalled, “because teachers would constantly T. Anthony Bell send me home with books, and I couldn’t understand them. My mom learned English than once as a gloss-over description of her with me trying to help me read all the books.” childhood. Martinez graduated as salutatorian of her “I think our home in the neighborhood had 10-student high school class in 1988. What the first (water) toilet,” she recalled. SEE CWO martinez, page 12

Story expresses what the CWO didn’t T. Anthony Bell

Senior Writer/Special Projects

What is normally a happy occasion seemed less so for Chief Warrant Officer 5 Maria G. Martinez when she was handed the Quartermaster Corps’ senior position for her rank at a change of responsibility ceremony here in November. During the formalities that marked the beginning of her tenure as Regimental CWO, she stood at the lectern reading from a prepared script in a low monotone, her voice sometimes trembling and her nose occasionally sniffling. In retrospect, Martinez described the occasion as heavy – a thousand pounds of emotion from the past 30 years compressed into minutes. It was the emblematic finish line of an arduous career journey. The excitement over the opportunities the position offered – oh, and she would be the first woman to walk the corps’ RCWO path, by the way – clawed at her as well, but her restraint reigned back any outward elation. “In the real world, if you show some type of emotion or cry, it’s looked upon as a weakness, right?” she suggested as a measure of acceptance. The sneaker company Nike has been saying the same thing with a recent women’s empowerment TV ad that starts with the line, “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic …,” and ends with, “If they want to call you crazy … fine, show them what crazy can do.” Martinez’s life and career doesn’t exactly fit into the crazy category, but far from normal would be an apt description. Her achievements represent what is possible from a life that started at the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder, and the resiliency Born in Coahuila state, Mexico, Martinez of individuals who experienced unfettered grew up as the oldest and only girl among harassment and bigotry in the earlier days of three children of a working class family. She the military. used the phrase “humble beginnings” more


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‘Quiet pioneer’ looks back at female firsts Devon L. Suits Army News Service

WASHINGTON – Four years and not a day longer. That was Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham’s military enlistment plan when first commissioned into the U.S. Army. As the second youngest of five siblings, she graduated with a bachelor’s in business management from the University of Alabama in 1981. Her father, retired 1st Sgt. Edward McMillon, and mother, Louise, had just started a photography business. Bingham wanted to help. In many ways, she considered her ROTC scholarship and subsequent four-year Army commitment as stepping stones to a greater purpose. She said she had no qualms with fulfilling her service obligation and moving back to Alabama. “Obviously, returning home never came to fruition,” Bingham said. “I fell in love with this vocation called the U.S. Army, and I think I’ve been all the better for it.” Without question, her nearly 38-year career has been ambitious and admirable. She was the first woman to serve as garrison commander at Fort Lee; the first female Quartermaster General and commandant of the QM School; and the first female senior officer of the Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. “Lt. Gen. Bingham always sets a positive example,” said Maj. Angela Somnuk, a former aide-de-camp of the accomplished officer. “She’s inspiring.” A big thing that makes her special, Somnuk further noted, is that she’s always reaching back to pull people up, “showing them that anything is possible.” Bingham is a “humble pioneer,” quietly carving a path for others and making the Army a better and more diverse force, according to descriptions cited in the many personality features written about her. “I fully comprehend that I stand on the shoulders of giants – the great ones who have gone before me,” Bingham humbly acknowledged. “There is absolutely no way 2I could be where I am today without the love

Michael Curtis

Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, talks with Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., commanding general, during an August ceremony when the latter officer pinned on her second star.

of God, my husband, two great kids and this village of people known as the Army Family. “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to continually serve and be a part of something that’s bigger than me as an individual,” she said. Growing Up Born in 1959 in Troy, Ala., Bingham and her siblings grew up as Army dependents. To this day, she speaks affectionately about the lifestyle and its accompanying moniker, “military brat.” Her father was an Army medic and spent a major portion of his career stationed at Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, she said. “My mother was a devout Christian, and my dad was the kind of guy ‘who never met a stranger,’ so to speak,” the general recalled.

“So, I got his personality because I enjoy meeting people of different cultures, races and backgrounds.” Through her faith, Bingham was emboldened by the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. She said her beliefs would serve as the foundation for her life and Army career. However, growing up as a black woman in the 1960s and ‘70s brought to light the constant struggle for social justice and equality during the civil rights movement. Even as a military dependent, she was not immune from the plights of others. “When we went from an all-black school to an integrated school … the race riots were alive and well when we moved from Texas back into Alabama,” Bingham said.

During her initial years of high school, there were still clear lines of division between black and white students, she said. This was most apparent in the school’s yearbook, which went from featuring mostly white students to featuring separate black and white students for student positions. “One year, I was the black homecoming queen during a time when we had two of everything,” Bingham said. “So, it’s interesting to recall … how we evolved over time. Seeing what appeared to be very segregated, to having twos of everything, to becoming integrated.” Through it all, Bingham never gave up. And during her senior year, she become the sole student government president, she said. SEE QUIET PIONEER, page 16


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Americas Military | Spotlight

Cpl. Markiya Variste

Unit: Alpha Company, 244th Quartermaster Battalion. Military occupational specialty: 42A – human resource specialist Age: 23 Hometown: Ceres, Calif. Time in service: five years Personality strengths: “I’m giving, caring, open-hearted and understanding.” Personality weaknesses: “I am an introvert, so I stick to myself, but I’m working on being more extroverted.” Pastimes: “I am artistic, so I draw. I’m also a person who likes random facts, so I Google a lot and I watch YouTube videos. I also like playing the piano or try to.” Worst fear: “Losing my kids or myself.” Favorite book: “‘A Child Called It’ by David Pelzer.” If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I want to go to the Dominican Republic and just lay on the beach, without stress or a care in the world.” When you have been most satisfied: “When my bills have been paid.” One person you most admire: “My dad (her god dad) because of the fact he opened his home not only to me but to four other children and his grandson, and the fact he is providing as a dad and being a father figure for my adopted sisters and my nephew.” (Variste’s godfather – her cousin’s husband – had four biological children but assumed guardianship of five additional children,

SUNRISE SERVICE,

Amy Perry

including her at the age of 6 because her biological mother and father were unable to care for her.) Something no one would guess about you: “I’m into to anime, and people find that weird.” The celebrity or historical figure you would like to meet: “I would say (recording artist) Jhene Aiko. Her life experiences are like mine, and her music was there through my heartbreak and anger and through my happy moments. She’s also helping to get me through (post-partum) depression.” What you believe in: “A higher power, which is God. I love God more than I love my family. I love my family more than anything else in this world apart from God.” Talk about your upbringing: “I was being raised by my mom, who was a drug addict. We went from shelter to shelter and friend’s house to friend’s house from the time I was

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weather location for the Sunrise Service is the Lee Theater, Mahone Avenue. Williams Stadium is located on the corner of Lee and Mahone avenues. Those visiting from off the installation can access post via the Lee Ave Gate, which opens at 6 a.m. on weekends, or the Sisisky Gate that’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week. All individuals 18 years of age or older must present a valid, state- or government-issued picture identification card to gain access to Fort Lee. For further details about the Sunrise Service, contact the Fort Lee Religious Support Office at 804-734-6494. Updates also will be posted to www.facebook.com/FortLeeReligiousActivities.

born. Up until I was 6, that’s all I can account for. I was put in school and fell behind, of course, due to the fact I hadn’t received much education and my health had been neglected. I also wasn’t going to church, but my god mom was going. My god dad wasn’t really a part of it, but he ended up going more and more and taking all of us with him. Then it became a daily habit. I was always in church. I know what’s right, what conflicts my heart and what doesn’t. I’ve seen what happened to my mom, and I don’t want my kids to experience that.” How you reflect on your upbringing: “I am grateful for my god parents. I thank God that my mom made the decision (to let her live with another family), although I was angry and felt abandoned. I have an education and I chose a career I love. My dad has encouraged me every step of the way. He is selfless, and you can tell by his actions. I thank God he took me in … and through discipline, he shaped me into the woman I am today.” How you crossed paths with the Army: “I was discouraged because a counselor told me I couldn’t get into a college because of poor grades. I eventually bought my grades up to a 4.0 average, but it was too late by that time, so I went to a recruiter and signed up. My dad was very upset at first, but he grew to love it. He doesn’t want me to get out.” Why you chose the human resources MOS: “The recruiters said my test scores indicated I would do well in a clerical MOS. I didn’t know exactly what (a 42-Alpha) does, and they encouraged me to look it up. I loved the fact it said we help Soldiers. I like to think of myself as the backbone of Soldiers.

TRANSLATION HELP,

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groups, national parks and schools in surrounding communities. Last year for example, large numbers of Soldiers and civilians spent hundreds of hours in school classrooms supporting reading programs and other academic endeavors. Hsu said she was happy to serve as a translator and did not think twice about helping out. In reflection, she expressed a feeling of pride because she was able provide victims with a familiar face and words of comfort and authorities services they did not have immediate access to.

K

A lot of people don’t see it that way; they call us ‘paper pushers.’ They don’t realize how much being a 42A involves. We’re the reason why your records are accurate, why you get promoted on time, why your career is running smoothly. We take care of all of the administrative records and personnel actions.” What it means to wear the uniform: “I’m really proud to wear it. When I’m on Facetime, I love to show it. Where I’m from, there are people who aren’t doing much and I want to motivate them –through something bigger than themselves. Also, I love being a part of a team and love how it takes care of me and my family.” Your idea of a leader: “A leader is a mentor. They are there through the troubles and the good times. They are there to motivate and inspire you to do your best. A leader builds you from inside and out. A leader is not a boss.” Your idea of a Soldier: “Those who fulfill their duties to the Army, themselves and the people of the United States.” Best thing about the Army: “I love the opportunities to travel and see different things. I also like the fact my family sometimes gets to experience that with me. It gets to be a part of our memories, and we’re building it together.” Worst thing about the Army: “PT.” Where you see yourself in five years: “I see myself getting a bachelor’s degree in biology, and professionally, I see myself as a warrant officer.” – Compiled by T. Anthony Bell, Senior Writer/Special Projects

“It was a great experience,” she said. “I’m fluent in Mandarin Chinese and was finally able to use my skill to help people when they needed it. I’m just so glad I was able to do it; to give them (the victims) the feeling they were not in a strange place.” Mandarin Chinese is a common language among inhabitants of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (also called Mainland China), said Hsu. She also speaks Taiwanese, a hybrid Chinese language with differences to Mandarin in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.


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Kenner Connection | Nutrition

Commissary offers healthy, convenient options Lesley Atkinson

KAHC Public Affairs Officer

Public Health staff members from Kenner Clinic, along with other community representatives, had a chance to tour the Fort Lee Commissary March 12 to learn more about its Nutrition Guide Program. The NGP is designed to improve ones’ overall health by putting color tags on food items that are dietician-approved, making it easier to identify products that supplement wellness needs. The nutrition organization works with dieticians throughout DOD to assist in identifying foods that are low sodium, without added sugar, whole grain, low fat, a good source of fiber and organic. Each category is assigned a color, and if there is a thumbs-up on the label, it meets high-nutrition and highperformance measures. DeCA’s Health and Wellness Program Manager Deborah Harris, a registered dietitian, gave the tour and explained how the color-coded shelf labels work. “What we did different than any other industry is make a conscious decision not to tag anything that is poor-nutrition quality,” Harris said. “We make sure there is some nutritional quality in the food. “For our war-fighters, we want them to choose the thumbs,” she continued. “The commissary wants to change the eating pattern of the junior service member to move some of those convenience meals – such as fast food ¬– to better planning.”

Lesley Atkinson

Defense Commissary Agency Health and Wellness Program Manager Deborah Harris explains the “thumbs-up” product concept to community members during a tour of the Fort Lee store March 12. Special labeling helps authorized customers identify dietician-approved ingredients and examples of properly prepared meals are displayed in the store so patrons can take a picture of them and try it at home.

Another way the commissary is encouragThe Commissary website has over 60 reciing healthier eating is the introduction of a pes and suggestions on how to use leftover “Thinking Outside the Box,” concept, which items. It has additional recipes that receive are recipes offered at the store that also can the thumbs up of approval, and one recipe is be found on www.commissaries.com under Healthy Living. The recipes are dietitianapproved and the featured ingredients are often targeted for special sales to create additional savings for patrons. The recipes align with dietary guidelines established by other health-promotion agencies in the U.S. “Today, most of the younger generation doesn’t know how to cook, so ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ starts adding to their repository of learning how to prepare a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients,” Harris said.

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showcased in the store so a patron can take a picture with their phone to use later. Many junior Soldiers, Harris added, don’t know about all the options the commissary offers like deli, sushi and salads that are healthier than a lot of fast food fare. KAHC Dietician Raquel Bopp said a lot of Soldiers need this assistance to improve their healthy food choices. “I see Soldiers daily who lack proper eating habits,” Bopp confirmed, “This is not just about weight loss, but also disease prevention, such as pre-diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterols of any kind that is a correlating factor of heart disease).” Bopp believes if Soldiers are better versed about the healthier options available on post, they could improve their overall well-being. “I truly believe having healthy food options available on post such as at the commissary would really help reduce obesity, which is a known factor for diabetes, and it would help reduce the chances of heart disease,” she said. “Having food that can be quickly identified as a healthier option, and recipe ideas

SEE COMMISSARY, page 16


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CWO martinez, continued from page 8

came next was a young adult’s acceptance of facts – she could go to college and weigh down her family financially or join the military. “I knew my parents could not afford college, even though I was given a (partial) scholarship (as a National Honor Society member and track and field athlete),” Martinez said. “I didn’t want to put an additional financial burden on them. The recruiters told me I would get paid every two weeks just doing what I love – running and putting in a little hard work here and there. “They never told me about cleaning toilets,” she continued with a laugh over the memory of life as a private in basic training. “My mother never allowed me to do any of that stuff. She would iron my clothes and do everything so I could concentrate on studying. I was a little spoiled, I guess.” Martinez might have been sheltered but was certainly not beyond hard work, having been a firsthand witness to such. She quickly picked up on the idea that Soldiering, beyond the icky GI party moments, is an honorable profession in which hard work was rewarded with promotions and gender was not an issue, at least on paper. After her enlistment in 1988 and training as a 76-Papa (now 92A) automated logistical specialist, she headed into the ranks with a drill instructor-influenced understanding of what the institution stood for, but she quickly became aware of political, racial and gender issues at the ground level. An incident early in her career concerning the latter provided the impetus for adaptation throughout her career.

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“I had duty one night and (the first sergeant) came in,” she recalled. “It was Christmas or New Years. He said, ‘I guess you’re the only one here.’ My battle buddy had gone to dinner or something. He said, ‘I can kiss you right now and nobody would know.’ He saw an opportunity. “I said, ‘I will punch you so hard you won’t be able to walk in the morning, and I will let everybody know!’” Needless to say, the first sergeant declined to advance, and Martinez said he never bothered her again. Martinez learned such behavior demanded an immediate response – either squash it then and there or report it, especially if it continues. “I never had to report anything, but I think there are many in our ranks who have experienced it and did not report it,” she said. “That’s hard to accept.” Learning opportunities were abundant during Martinez’ first tour of duty. One of her supervisors, retired CW4 Mary Thompson, was a walking, talking tutorial who embodied Martinez’s version of what a Soldier should be and whose attributes were worthy enough to bottle up and sell. “She was a fireball; that’s what they called her,” Martinez said. “I used to type for her and did whatever she said because she was very aggressive, but she was still a lady and very compassionate. She was my inspiration from day one.” And justifiably so. When Martinez received an Article 15 for fighting with her roommate and platoon sergeant, Thompson was steadfast in her support when no one else stood in her corner. “When everybody turned their back on

me, my chief was still there, and she still believed in me,” said Martinez, noting the incident taught her to channel her emotions. The letter of support submitted by Thompson during those disciplinary proceedings is among the mementos Martinez has held onto over the years. The experiences with Thompson and another warrant officer, (now retired) CW4 Armando Ygbuhay, whom she worked for at a subsequent assignment, influenced her decision to pursue the warrant officer path, she said. In 1995, Martinez attended warrant officer school with the support of her mentors and others. Although she had suffered quite a few indignities as a Soldier, nothing – not even her family’s subservient status as ranch hands and domestics for the wealthy in Texas – could prepare her for the indignity she suffered during a senior officer in-ranks inspection. “They smoke you and do all kinds of stuff to degrade you,” she said of the formation, which served as a kind of introduction to course expectations. “They’d ask you things like ‘What makes you think you want to be a warrant officer?’ and other questions.” When the “Where are you from?” question was posed to Martinez, she answered she “was born in Mexico and raised in Texas.” “What makes you think you need to be here?” asked the senior leader, who then spat on Martinez and told her “to go back to Mexico.” “He probably said it to a few other Hispanic people as well,” she acknowledged. Admitting her propensity for not backing down when it when it comes to self-

preservation, Martinez said she wanted to “sock” the officer but held her bearing. “I had just got into the warrant officer school,” she observed, “and I couldn’t afford to get in trouble.” The incident, however, had set her aspirations of achievement on fire. “It gave me a greater ambition to succeed; to get through things,” she said, noting it also taught her “not everyone is going to be in your corner.” By the early 2000s, Martinez was on a career tear. She had completed two tours in Saudi Arabia and a team from her shop at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, had earned the Supply Excellence Award for three consecutive years. There was a cost, however, to Martinez’ ambitions. She said she pushed her troops hard, and some resented her for it. “They brought me down to ground again and reminded me awards are great, but you cannot forget the fact people are human, and they have problems and issues in their private lives. You cannot cross the line.” Remarkably, some of the same Soldiers who resented Martinez for her aggressiveness stood in her corner during a time of great suffering. “They were by my bedside in Alaska when …” She does not complete the thought, but wipes her eyes over the memory. “It wasn’t mandatory,” she said. “They were there because they wanted to be by my side, not because someone told them they had to do it.” The compassion her Soldiers showed was a teaching moment for Martinez. “Life has its ups and down, but you have to always come back to your roots,” she said.

SEE CWO martinez, page 13


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Contributed Photo

Post youths win Petersburg tourney

Members of the Fort Lee U-12 Sixers pose with their coaches after winning the Petersburg Invitational Tournament at Petersburg High School March 16. Coached by D’venzio Jenkins (IT specialist, DECA) and Capt. Austin Franklin (graduate student, Virginia State University), the Sixers finished with a record of 9-1 in the two-day tournament. The winners defeated the Warriors from Charles City to capture the championship by a score of 50-33. The players are Jamel Jenkins; Brandon Harris; Keyondre Story; Zoe Gayoso (not pictured); Logan O’Brien (not pictured); Travis Wall; Brandon Howard; Dancing Spirit Bluestone; Justin Franklin; Isaiah Claiborne; Kejuan Harris and Cecilia Quichocho.

CWO martinez,

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3“Always help someone else. It is not just

about you getting empowered.” Martinez went on to complete three other overseas tours. She has mentored Soldiers, built leaders and has checked off a long list of achievements to include being the first in her family to earn a college degree. “She took all the tough assignments and worked at every level,” said retired CW5 Antonio Ocasio, a Fort Lee civilian employee who met Martinez roughly 14 years ago. “Having a stable family helped her do it. She pulled it all off because of the great people behind her.”

As the Regimental CWO, Martinez will shape future training activities for QM branch warrant officers and serve as an advisor to the QM General about WO Cohort matters. In retrospect, Martinez’s story could be associated with a lot of things – the March observance of Women’s History Month, the upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month campaign or annual celebrations of diversity in the military ranks. Or it can be just accepted as remarkable and worth the release of every emotion she chose to hold back during her change of responsibility ceremony last year.

U.S. Army Photo

Contributed Photo

Marines Medal at Tobacco Road Marathon

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Reginald C. Williams, left, and Marine Staff Sgt. Brian Shaughnessy proudly pose with the medals they won in the male military division of the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, N.C., March 17. Shaughnessy finished first with a time of 1:46:51 with Williams coming in second with a time of 1.48.56. Both Fort Lee Marines competed on behalf of Team Hope For The Warriors, which provides athletes of all abilities the opportunity to engage their competitive spirit at endurance events. Warrior Team members are provided adaptive equipment and race support to ensure that they are defined by their achievements rather than by their injuries, supporting their rehabilitation and mental health, while re-engaging competitive spirits.


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Vietnam Veteran Pinning Event | March 29

For the second year in a row, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will honor Vietnam Veterans for their service and sacrifice during a National Vietnam War Veterans Day observance March 29, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., at Fort Lee’s main store, building 1605. Veterans who served on active duty in the military at any time from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, can receive a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin, provided in partnership with The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. For additional details, call 804-861-4329.

L OCAL A CTIVITIES

FOR THE

F ORT L EE C OMMUNITY

at the Petersburg Public Library, 201 West Washington St., Petersburg. Prior airborne experience is not a prerequisite for membership or attending. For more details, call 804-733-2177.

SAMC Induction Ceremony | April 5

The Fort Lee Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club will hold an induction ceremony April 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m., in the Petroleum and Water Department Auditorium, 11300 Grant Ave. 59th Ordnance Spring Festival | For details, visit https://www.facebook.com/ March 29 SamcFortLee/. The 59th Ordnance Brigade will hold a Spring Festival March 29, 3 p.m., at Whitting- Appomattox 5K Trail Run | ton Field, 222 Edgewood Road, on the instal- April 6 lation. The 4th Annual Appomattox River 5K Trail The free event will include food, games, a Run will be held April 6, 9 a.m., at the Appobounce house, Easter Egg Hunt, car show and mattox River Regional Park, N. Prince George more. All active duty Soldiers, family mem- County. bers and friends are invited. Participants at all levels are encouraged For other details, contact Capt. Andrew Lee to take part. The event includes running and at 804-765-9472. walking for all ages and a Children’s Fun Run. Proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics Outdoor Living Opening | and the Friends of the Lower Appomattox March 30 River. On-site registration begins at 7:45 a.m. A grand opening celebration for the Outdoor For details, call 804-458-6164 or email Living department at the Fort Lee Exchange is dlafland@princegeorgecountyva.gov. set for March 30, noon, inside the store. All eligible shoppers are invited to this fam- Sesame Street Live in ily friendly event. There will be giveaways, Richmond | April 6-7 “Sesame Street Live! Let’s Party!” will be food samplings, a grill demo, kid’s activities presented in three shows April 6-7 at Altria and more. For additional updates, visit www.facebook. Theater, 6 North Laurel St., Richmond. The interactive productions will feature com/LeeExchange. such favorites as Oscar, Elmo and Cookie Tackle Football Training Camp | Monster with songs and more. The shows are April 1-5 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., April 6, and 10:30 Registration is underway for a Tackle a.m., April 7. Football Training Camp – open to ages 7-13 For tickets and details, call 804-592-3401. – scheduled for April 1-5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at SAAPM Golf Scramble | April 12 Williams Stadium. Registration is open until April 8 for the The cost is $10 and it is open to all youth fourth annual Sexual Assault Awareness and who are registered with CYS. For further information, contact CYS Youth Prevention Month Golf Scramble set for April 12, 12:30 p.m., at the Cardinal Golf Club. Sports at 804-734-3069. The participation fee is $35 for members, 555th PIA Meeting | April 3 $40 for E-1 - E-5 and $50 for others. The fee The Jessie J. Mayes Tri-Cities Chapter of includes golf, a cart, balls and lunch. the 555th Parachute Infantry Association, Inc. For additional details, call 804-734-6594 or will hold its monthly meeting April 3, 6 p.m., 734-6498.

Little Patriots Trunk Hop | April 13

The USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia will host the Little Patriots Trunk Hop April 13, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., at Bryant and Stratton College, 301 Centre Pointe Drive, Virginia Beach. Participants can have fun with inflatables, hop trunk to trunk for treats, meet the Easter Bunny and more. The free event is for dependents of active duty military, reserve and National Guard. An RSVP is required to hrcv.uso. org/events. For details, call 757-337-4447.

Exchange Fashion Show | April 13

Volunteer models are being sought for the Fort Lee Exchange’s Spring fashion show set for April 13, 1 p.m., at the main store. All members of the community, young and old, can sign up to ‘strut their stuff’ on the catwalk. No modeling experience is needed. Minors must get their parent’s permission and will need to be accompanied by an adult during rehearsals and the show. For more information and signup, contact Katelyn Zahn at 804-861-5970 or talk to a sales rep at the jewelry counter in the main store.

son Davis Highway, Chester. Approximately 30 employers will be on hand to meet with participants and share current job openings. For details, visit www.jtcc.edu/news.

Signup Deadline for SAAPM Bowling Event | April 19

The signup deadline for a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month bowling event is April 19. The Strike Out Sexual Misconduct Bowling event is set for April 23, 1-3 p.m., at the TenStrike Bowling and Entertainment Center, 2403 C Ave. It is sponsored by the garrison SHARP office and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. The cost is $5.75 per person. For details, email lauren.p.barboza.civ@ mail.mil or Michael.k.edwards21.mil@mail.mil.

BOSS Easter Extravaganza | April 20

The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Easter Extravaganza is scheduled for April 20, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., on the Lee Club lawn. The free event includes an Easter egg hunt for children up to 12 years old, the Easter Bunny and more. Families should arrive by noon to participate in the hunt. For details, call 804-765-7651.

Heirloom Plant Sale | April 20

Henricus Historical Park will offer for sale a variety of heirloom plants for home gardens April 20, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., at 251 Henricus School of the Musketeer at Park Road, Chester. The plants include vegetable, herb, fruit, Henricus | April 13-14 Henricus Historical Park will host School and flower seedlings with all proceeds benefitof the Musketeer, presented by The Kingdom ing Henricus’ agricultural-related educational of Lucerne, April 13-14 at 251 Henricus Park programs. For details, call 804-748-1611 or visit henricus.org. Road, Chester. Participants can stay overnight at the recreated Citie of Henricus and spend the weekend Jefferson-Adams on Stage | learning about military and civilian life among April 27 A two-act drama, “Jefferson and Adams: On the first colonists of the New World including learning how to fire a matchlock musket. Stage and In Conversation” will be presented Instructors and other support personnel will April 27, 7:30 p.m., at the Academy Center of provide an interactive environment of 17th- the Arts, Historic Academy of Music Theatre, century culture. The cost is $35. Registration 600 Main St., Lynchburg. The performance will highlight the 52-year is required. friendship between Thomas Jefferson and For details, visit www.kingdomoflucerne.com. John Adams, the two leaders of the new nation John Tyler Career Fair | April 15 who first met in 1775. The production will be A Skilled Trades Career fair will be held hosted by Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. For details, visit academycenter.org or call April 15, 4-7 p.m., at John Tyler Community College, Moyar Hall, 1st floor, 13101 Jeffer- 434-846-8499.

For more installation and outside the gate events and activities, visit our online calendar at www.fortleetraveller.com/calendar


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Fort Lee

ClassiďŹ eds

DEADLINE Reader & Display: Thursday 4:00pm (week prior)

CONTACT: Susan Irgens

susanlou.irgens@gmail.com

757-477-7104

Reach more than 10,000 active duty military, civil service employees, retirees, their spouses and the civilian community.


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QUIET PIONEER,

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She was the first black woman to hold that title. Army Life After high school, Bingham committed to an ROTC scholarship to attend college. “I decided it only made sense to go Army since that is what I knew as a kid growing up,” she said. “ROTC taught me so many things about basic leadership, the general principles of being a leader, and compromise. I found it to be challenging, fulfilling and thrilling all at the same time.” On Aug. 16, 1981, Bingham commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. Her father was there to pin on her rank. “It was a special day,” she said. “I can remember so many of the teachings between him and my mom that set me on the right path … as I went forward as a second lieutenant and through my company command years, and beyond.” Shortly after reporting in to her first duty station at Fort Lewis, Wash., Bingham met her future husband, Dr. Patrick J. Bingham – now one of the top administrators for the Prince George County Public School system. The couple has been married for over 35 years and have two children, Tava and Phillip. Resilience, Responsibility While Bingham has experienced her share of highs and lows, there are two key moments in her life that constantly remind her to help others, she said. The first incident happened at the University of Alabama. “My grades had begun to slip as I embraced the ‘social side’ of campus life and I wanted to bolster my GPA, so I picked Sociology 101,” she said. “How hard could it be?” To pass the class, she would have to score well on two exams. The first was worth 40

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percent of her grade, while the final was worth 60 percent. She scored a “D” on her initial test. Bewildered, a friend suggested she ask the professor for help. She went to his office and requested support. “He said, ‘Well, it’s a known fact that people like you don’t do well in education.’” she recalled. “I can remember that, almost as if it was yesterday.” Floored, Bingham thanked him for his time and walked out of the office. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she quickly walked to the dorms. “I was trying to process what had happened. I had just felt the sting of … a racist remark,” she said. “I’ve taken this kind of treatment to heart in the organizations I lead because I never want anyone to feel like they’re inferior, or to feel like they can’t learn or can’t achieve.” The second epiphany happened early in her career. “This was not an ugly conversation by any stretch of imagination,” she assured. “I had a superior officer say, ‘Capt. Bingham, you probably have great officer evaluation reports, but I can just about assure you that you’ll never ever be seriously considered for battalion command. You don’t have enough division time.’” Instead of getting discouraged, she dug in to give “110 percent” of her best efforts. She was determined to not let him define her success in the Army. “I used both of those opportunities that have occurred in my own life to coach, teach, train and encourage others,” Bingham said. “To those who have gone through something like that, I say, don’t let mankind steal your joy or steal your dreams. In my view, if you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.” Somnuk pointed out her time serving

on Bingham’s staff was not without harsh moments but she understood it often takes a bit of “tough love” to aspire others and push them toward success. “Lt. Gen. Bingham was hard on me for a reason,” Somnuk acknowledged. “It was just mentorship that whole time, and I really appreciate that from her. “Sometimes, you’ll be in an environment where just showing up as a female, you will have to prove yourself,” the captain added. “I think she was trying to mold me to have that tough skin and be able to work for and with any leader.” Fostering a Diverse Force In the end, diversity is a game changer and the key to enabling readiness, the general emphasized. The Army is similar to a masterfully woven quilt, she explained. Each quilt is comprised of unique and individual squares. They represent the Soldiers, civilians and their families, and each square has a story to tell. Once the quilt is assembled, the Army shows its strength as a unified force. “Diversity is extremely important to the Army; it helps us be that ready force we pride ourselves in being,” she said. Inclusion is another key characteristic to a ready force, she added. “As a leader in the Army, I go out of my way … to make everyone feel like a valuable member of the team. You should come to work feeling like you are appreciated and valued; that you are included. I think it’s so powerful and will make us the organization we ultimately want to be.” The Way Ahead It has been a very fulfilling, 38 years, Bingham observed. This summer, she plans to transition out of the Army and move to her next adventure – retirement. “I know she’s very deserving, and I’m happy for her,”

Somnuk said. “It would have been awesome if she would have received a fourth star.” To date, Gen. Ann Dunwoody is the only woman to receive the four-star rank in the Army. Fun fact: she too is an Army brat and a QM Corps alumnus. “The Army has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me,” Bingham reflected. “I’ll always embrace the title of ‘Soldier for Life’ … and I look forward to writing a book about my experiences in uniform.” It’s almost certain that literary work will reflect her respect for “the village.” Quoting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Bingham said, “It’s not the planes, the ships or the machines that make the Army tick, it is the people.”

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to put meals together, are great steps to eating better,” Bopp continued. “I do believe that having precooked meals that are low in saturated fat, low cholesterol, and moderate to low carbohydrates would be ideal. I also believe having an area where recipes are provided for our Soldiers and their family members is ideal. Having the Nutrition Guide Program along with access to a dietitian through the military healthcare system can most definitely help our Soldiers and their families live a healthier lifestyle.” KAHC offers nutrition counseling services for diet and health, weight management, stress and emotional eating, vegetarian guidance, building muscle, preventing disease and more. For assistance, call 804-734-9000 or schedule an appointment through TRICARE Online.

Profile for The Progress-Index

Fort Lee Traveller | March 28, 2019  

Fort Lee Traveller | March 28, 2019