Women Pull Their Weight in Third Brigade

Fort Benning's Third Brigade will return from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California within the next week.

They were there training for deployment to Iraq. Not only were the soldiers on the front lines tested, but those who supply them.

And those ranks are made up of a lot of women.

Currently, there are several hundred women soldiers serving in the Third Brigade. But when you get down to it, to them, there is no male and female, just soldiers.

And they wouldn't want it any other way.

The saying goes--an army can only go as far as it's supply line. If that's the case then thank these soldiers. These women make up the

brigade support battalion. And just like the soldiers training to catch insurgents or find roadside bombs, these soldiers have to prepare for Iraq as well.

"If you didn't have the females back here doing the jobs that we do when the infantry guys pull their triggers the bullets wouldn't come out," said Lt. Nastassia Robinson, Third Brigade soldier.

The women soldiers we spoke with are here because this is what they want to do. Chief Warrant Officer Pandora Searls has served sixteen years in the army. The Third Brigade's next deployment will be her third.

"From my experience, I see, it's pretty much equal opportunity for females. There are restrictions when it comes to combat but overall we pretty much have and equal opportunity," said CWO Pandora Searls, Third Brigade soldier.

And the camaraderie is the same for these soldiers as it is for those riding in Bradleys or tanks. Staff Sergeant Christine Vasquez says the only thing that separates them is the women sleep in their own tent.

"We work together. Everybody becomes part of a family out here or anywhere else. You just become integrated and there's no problem," said Staff Sgt Christine Vasquez, Third Brigade soldier.

And just like for the men, these soldiers worry about what's happening at home.

"I have a pretty good family base at home, but for some of the soldiers, you have more challenges, you've got single parents and doing the military and it's quite a constraint, but everybody deal with it as we can," said Searls.

The Third Brigade tells us today their deployment is still on schedule.

They're saying it looks like mid-March, but can give specific dates for security reasons. Deployment will take about a week for the three-thousand soldiers to leave Fort Benning.