For the first time in history, a state National Guard command team is all women

popular
Army Maj. Gen. Linda Singh. Photo: Sgt. 1st Class John Soucy/U.S. Army

Army Maj. Gen. Linda Singh didn't want anyone at work to know she was pregnant.


"The company commander at that time ... he was the only one that knew," Singh told reporters at a roundtable event on March 28th, about her experience after joining a new company years ago. "And because I went into a male environment, I didn't want anybody else to know. ... If it wasn't for me having to wear a dress uniform, which I couldn't fit, they probably wouldn't have known until I was like seven or eight months because I just kept buying a bigger jacket. And just to tell you how it was during those days, they did not want me in the motor pool because I was pregnant. I went, 'Really?' ... 'Well, you're pregnant.' 'Okay, well, I don't have leprosy.'"

Things have changed a bit since then.

Now, Singh's children, two daughters, are grown.

And the military is much more accepting of women in uniform — and women in leadership, which Singh has proved as she leads the Maryland National Guard as the Adjutant General of Maryland alongside three other accomplished service women: Brig. Gen. April Vogel, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Maryland National Guard; Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, Assistant Adjutant General; and Command Sgt. Maj. Perlisa Wilson, Senior Enlisted Leader of the Maryland National Guard.

It's the first and only all-female National Guard leadership team in the country.

Singh — who describes herself as a "collector of fine things" — is quick to point out that these women didn't get these positions by just being women. She said she realized about a year and a half ago that the trajectories of each of the women's careers, along with "moves and retirements, and...national-level assignments," were aligning just right to allow for the all-female command team.

"It was really about timing and it's about having the leaders that have the right skill-set," Singh said. "I don't think really in my whole career i've ever seen it that it's lined up this perfect, so somebody was looking out for me.

Birkhead echoed that, saying while part of it is about "stars aligning," the rest of it about very deliberate decisions, and having support from "the person who has your voice in the room" when you're not there.

Singh said when she first entered the military as a private in 1981, it was a much different time for women in the military, though she didn't pay much thought to it.

"It wasn't something that drove me every single day. 'Oh my God what do my male counterparts think of me?'" she said. "I grew up with a lot of males, and so the only thing that I kept thinking is 'Well, if they can run that fast, I can run faster. If they can shoot that way, I can shoot faster.'"

The goal shouldn't be to simply have an all-female team, Singh said, but to "have a competent leadership team that is diverse." But being an all-female team can come with its advantages — as well as its challenges.

"For this particular team when someone is sick at home, to include my husband, we get the phone calls," Singh said. "We're having to deal with the balancing of our meetings, and being at work, and then oh by the way we have to go home and take care of home. And I will tell you, I get a lot of young kids that ask me, 'Gen. Singh, do you cook?' You’redarn right I cook! ... We just have to be real about it, that doesn't make us any less valuable because we have other things to do."

As for Vogel, this isn't her first time being on an all-female team, but that if there's "anything gained by having this leadership team, it's people looking up and saying 'Huh, who knew?'"

"It is something I'm very proud of," Vogel said."When I look across the room and I see people who look like me."

SEE NEXT: That WSJ 'Women In Combat' Op-Ed Is A Complete Disaster — But It Still Presents A Threat

WATCH ALSO: Fort Benning Graduates First Gender Integrated Infantry One Station Unit Training

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested on Thursday he could be ready to start a highly anticipated global force repositioning this year as part of an effort to refocus the Pentagon on challenges from China and Russia.

Esper said he did not want to put a firm timeline on the completion of his so-called "defense-wide review," which is expected to trigger those troop movements.

"If I had to put an end-date (on the review), I want to make sure we are in some type of better posture by the beginning of the next fiscal year," Esper told reporters, referring to the government's calendar year for spending, which begins on Oct. 1. "So I want to move fairly quickly."

Read More

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

A trial for a German-Afghan national suspected of spying for Iranian intelligence is set to commence on January 20 in the city of Koblenz in Germany.

Identified as Abdul Hamid S. according to Germany privacy laws, the 51-year-old former interpreter and adviser for the German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, was arrested a year ago in the Rhineland region of western Germany and accused of providing information to Iranian intelligence for many years.

Read More
Supporters of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr carry placards depicting U.S. President Donald Trump at a protest against what they say is U.S. presence and violations in Iraq, duri in Baghdad, Iraq January 24, 2020. (REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani)

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Iraqis rallied in central Baghdad on Friday calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops, but the protest mostly dissipated after a few hours despite fears of violence following a cleric's call for a "million strong" turnout.

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr convened the march after the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi paramilitary chief in Baghdad this month. His eventual decision to hold it away from a separate anti-government protest camp, and away from the U.S. embassy, looked pivotal in keeping the march peaceful.

Read More
World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient Maj. Bill White, who at 104 is believed to be the oldest living Marine, has received a remarkable outpouring of cards and support from around the world after asking the public for Valentine's Day cards. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I still can't get over it," he said. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

STOCKTON — Diane Wright opened the door of an apartment at The Oaks at Inglewood, the assisted care facility in Stockton where she is the executive director. Inside, three people busily went through postal trays crammed with envelopes near a table heaped with handmade gifts, military memorabilia, blankets, quilts, candy and the like.

Operation Valentine has generated a remarkable outpouring of support from around the world for retired United States Marine, Maj. Bill White. Earlier this month, a resident at The Oaks, Tony Walker, posted a request on social media to send Valentine's Day cards to the 104-year-old World War II veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart.

Walker believed Maj. White would enjoy adding the cards to his collection of memorabilia. The response has been greater than anyone ever thought possible.

Read More

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

A spokesman for the Taliban has told a Pakistani newspaper that the militant group is hoping to reach an Afghan peace deal with U.S negotiators by the end of January.

The comments by Suhail Shaheen on January 18 to the Dawn newspaper come after negotiators from the Taliban and the United States met for two days of talks in Qatar.

Read More