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NEWS | March 25, 2024

VNG NCO reflects on being a female in the field artillery

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Part of Staff Sgt. Felicia Taylor’s motivation for joining the Virginia Army National Guard was to prove what she was capable of. Her father didn’t think she could make it through Basic Combat Training, or BCT, and she felt certain he was wrong. Then she looked into the benefits of military service and realized she could serve part-time in the National Guard while still working toward her college and career goals.
Taylor joined the National Guard in 2016, just after women were authorized to serve in combat arms career fields. After weighing the choices available to her, she decided to enlist as a 13B Cannon Crewmember, and today serves in Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Hanover, Virginia.
“The sound of firing cannons and blowing things up seemed more appealing than being an infantryman, or working in a kitchen,” Taylor said on her decision.
As one of the early women to enter a combat arms career field, Taylor said, with just a few exceptions, her experience has been great.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be placed in units where, overall, the men have been like big brothers and great mentors,” she said. Taylor added that the differences between men and women shouldn’t be disqualifying factors. “It’s okay that females have different needs than males. Biologically we are different, but it doesn’t make us weak to get pregnant or have a cycle. No female should feel shame for being a female, especially if she’s great at her job.”
Over the course of her career, Taylor said one of the best about service in the National Guard is the access she has to low-cost health insurance through Tricare. She also said she’s learned a lot.
“I’ve learned to have extreme patience and how to feel comfortable with leading a team,” Taylor said. “Also, accountability and punctuality.”
On Women’s History Month, Taylor said she believes recognizing and highlighting the accomplishments of women is important, partially because of the big strides women have made in service to their nation.
“Women were not always allowed to be in the military, much less combat arms,” Taylor said. “It just goes to show that we can do things just as well, if not better, than men.”

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