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For the first time in history, a state National Guard command team is all women
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."
WATCH ALSO: Fort Benning Graduates First Gender Integrated Infantry One Station Unit Training
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Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.