Military women honored

The South Dakota National Guard Museum, along with the South Dakota Army National Guard, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs and Veteran’s Affairs programs on campuses across the state, are working together to raise awareness about Women’s Heritage Month.

“Women are a key part of diversifying our force. This display shows the different opportunities and accomplishment of female soldiers,” said Maj. Rebecca Trygstad of the 139th Brigade Support Battalion. “The accomplishments of these women are instrumental in providing opportunities for future female soldiers.” 

The museum created a display of eight women’s military uniforms from throughout the armed forces’ history in The Union. These uniforms are set up in accordance with the regulations that each uniform was subject to during its time of use in the services. The display arrived on campus on Monday March 23 and will remain on campus through Friday, March 27.

“The display is a great way of honoring females that have served in the military and some specific females from South Dakota,” Maj. Trygstad said. “The uniforms displayed are from various services and time periods to show how the uniform and service of women has evolved over the years.” 

Along with the various uniform set ups, the South Dakota National Guard Museum has provided a poster that includes a written description of the uniforms and the women who wore them to be displayed with the uniforms. In addition, and unique to the display’s stop at SDSU, the Brookings County Disabled American Veterans donated some scrapbooks and other memorabilia depicting women in the military throughout history.

In their effort to raise awareness all across the state, the museum, ROTC and Veterans’ Affairs have worked out a travel schedule for the display.

“Over the past 30 years, women have entered the military in continue to have a crucial role in current operations and their selfless sacrifices continue to break through gender barriers,” Michelle Ruesink, assistant director for student support at SDSU, said. “We thank all our Veterans, service members and their families for their service and commitment to our nation.”

Its visit to SDSU’s campus is the fifth stop of six for the display. After leaving Brookings, the display will be set up at the South Dakota National Guard Museum in Pierre from March 30 until April 3. Prior to visiting SDSU, the display could be found at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, Camp Rapid Headquarters in Rapid City and the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

South Dakota State University has a strong bond with women in the military as its ROTC program commissioned the Army’s first female Lieutenant on May 1, 1976.

“I am excited to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the SDSU Army ROTC program that commissioned the first female Lieutenant in 1976,” said Dacey Beck, a cadet currently in SDSU’s ROTC program.

Anyone, male or female, that is interested in joining the Army National Guard can stop by the display and talk with a recruiter. There will also be a TAC Ball, a game similar to paint ball but with rubber balls instead of paint, event on Thursday, March 26 at the Brookings National Guard Armory from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. The armory is located at 300 5th Street South in Brookings. Free pizza, free soft drink  and prizes will be given away at the event.