Supervision of women in the army
ANDERSON, SC (WSPA) – In 1917, the first woman was allowed to enlist in the military. It was not until the next world war that women became a permanent part of the military service.
Today, women represent less than 20% of our armed forces. One of them is an Anderson native who made it her mission to support other women who seek to serve.
It’s hard to do justice to a woman like Major Roshonda Thomas. Clearly, she’s tough. When not running her ax throwing business in Anderson, she wears an M16. Thomas served in the Army and Army Reserve for 14 years.
“If you have the motivation and you want to serve and you really want to learn something and become a better person, I think the military is doing it for you,” she said.
Thomas got the virus from serving from his father, Master Sgt Stanely Rogers. Shortly after her first deployment to Iraq in 2009, she joined a group of grassroots mentors for women in the military and, as the founder will attest, Thomas ran with him.
“It wasn’t fair ‘hey, I’m going to take some of this advice. I will take it a step further and I will share it with everyone. And so she started to record those conversations with people she met and were inspired by and share those lessons learned, ”said Lt. Col. Heather McAteer.
Soon Thomas had created a blog, which included audio from interviews with 17 female officers in the military. The interviews included lessons that taught her to be a leader as well as the wisdom she shared with other women.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the past 14 years. You have to be accessible because if you’re not, you’re going to miss something, ”Thomas said.
But for any military parent, missing something is part of the sacrifice, especially for a mother of three.
“Second deployment, my son was 4, my second daughter was 6 and my oldest was 8. So yeah, you know, I left, and I was calling and trying to talk to them as much as I could. But I really grabbed the opportunity… I’m like I’m away for this specific time for a specific reason, what can I learn about myself, ”said Thomas.
She said she could see beyond time apart and was grateful for a husband who supported her. She said she is also aware of the example she has set for her family.
“I want them to see that I sacrificed myself for them because it’s really about them. At the end of the day, I think about my children. I think about what they’re going to be and who they’re going to be, and I really want to leave a legacy for them, ”she said.
And even when she went from lieutenant to captain to major, that legacy extended to her work at home. She is not only a businesswoman, but now the founder of a nonprofit called De-stress the community.
Yet Thomas, now in the Reserve, says she will never give up her first passion.
“I mean the reality is it’s hard, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I had several women who came to me and said, look, this is the story of my life. And for me, I’m like, ‘Don’t go out. Do what you have to do, take care of your family, find that network of people who support you and end up, end well.
Thomas, who is now pregnant with her fourth child, plans to continue her service for another six years until she retires. We thank her for her service.