Friday, May 05, 2006

Tough Mothers - U.S. Army Maj. Colleen Shiraishi

The “Dura Mater,” or tough mother, of medicine at the Ambulatory Care Center here is an integral part of the leadership of the 47th Combat Support Hospital, 30th Medical Brigade out of Fort Lewis, Wash.

Maj. Colleen Shiraishi, the officer in charge of the ACC and a nurse practitioner, has served in the military for more than a decade.[snip]

In addition to making a foreign country feel like home, she said she is also hoping her time in Iraq will be spent serving the civilians of the country.

“I would like to get involved in the MiTT (Military Transitional Training) team,” said Shiraishi.

Shiraishi, a native of San Diego, Calif., might be getting her wish since hospital members have just finished a series of cultural awareness training classes, including a tea service class. The team plans on using some hospital soldiers in evaluating Iraqi facilities in April (ed...already happening).[snip]

Shiraishi first became a member of the military services in 1991 when she joined the U.S. Navy as a nurse. [snip]

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Shiraishi switched to the Army.[snip]

Switching services brought a slew of challenges for the officer who was unfamiliar with the Army.

“At OBC (Officer’s Basic Course) because I came in a major, the NCOIC (noncommissioned officer in charge) gave me an M-16 rifle and said, ‘Here Ma’am, I bet you can show everyone here how to break this down,” said Shiraishi, laughing. “I was like, all Marines would have to be dead before they gave a Navy nurse a rifle. I had only qualified on a 9-mm pistol.”

The change in missions between the services was a new experience for Shiraishi.

“We (Navy nurses) had Marine escorts,” said Shiraishi. “That’s a difference in the services. Our (Army) medics become the security pullers and set-up perimeters. You are a soldier first.”

This soldier-first mentality of the Army has not been the only change for the major. She also has seen a change in the role of women over the years in the military.

“The Army has been good at expanding the role of women because of need, but need is a great motivator,” said Shiraishi. “I think women have gone from an ancillary role to where they are part of the power structure. Twenty years ago it was hard for women to get into a command position.”

U.S. Army Maj. Colleen Shiraishi - DefendAmerica News Article


Beth Donovan said...

Hee hee. When I was in basic training for the Army in 1976, I had to learn to break down an M16, and I had to qualify on it, too.
(I was in a medical unit as a social worker)
The Navy must be *really* far behind!

Kat said...

Well, they're always talking about "tradition" and the army is always talking about "innovating" and the air force would rather drop bombs from a long range distance than pickup a gun, so I guess it is all relevant.