Women in military face battles on, off the front lines
More than 1,700 military women came together on Monday for support, encouragement and to talk about the battles they face, battles that often time have nothing to do with the front lines of war.
"It is still a tough environment, still predominantly male working environment, but each year more and more women are succeeding," said Commander Nicole Shue, president of the SEA Service Leadership Association.
Leaders from all five service branches were honored.
"I'm touched that somebody felt I was portraying that type of leadership," said Lt. Commander Erin Williams.
Those who have broken barriers shared their experiences, like Major Allison Black of the Air Force, the first woman navigator to open fire in combat operations.
"I'm proud I was able to break that wall if there was one and allow more women to or at least let women see what is possible," Black said.
Decorated Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee even had some advice.
"Women, everything we do is on an upswing in a positive way and why not pull together," she said.
Many shared messages challenging younger generations to aspire to more.
"Still a lot of progress that needs to be made in terms of seeing women take positions of real influence," said Michele Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense for policy.
This was the first time the gathering included women from all five military service branches as well as women serving in the military of other countries.