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The Changing Face of our Military

Meet some members of the Marine's Female Engagement Team, women who volunteer to join otherwise all-male patrols on the ground in Afghanistan villages, where they build relationships with local women

Sergeant Sheena Adams is a member of an elite corps of female Marines, soldiers who have volunteered to join otherwise all-male patrols in Afghanistan, where they build relationships with Afghan women, a population mostly off-limits to our male troops. Sergeant Adams and her colleagues belong to the Female Engagement Team, also called FETs, and they work with women in these villages to gain their trust, and bring them better access to health care and education. 

During her deployment as a FET, Sergeant Adams met a widowed Afghan woman -- a mother of nine who could barely feed her children. Due to cultural restrictions, this mother could not work outside the home.  Sergeant Adams found a way for this Afghan woman to earn an income. The answer was pretty simple. Using the mother’s baking talents and a son’s capacity to sell at a local bazaar, Sergeant Adams helped the family create their own bread business. 

Dr. Jill Biden has met Sergeant Adams and some of her colleagues over the past few months, on a visit to Camp Pendleton and in Washington, D.C. where these heroes were invited to a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Women's History Month. When Dr. Biden heard about the work they are doing, she was inspired:

I thought this story captured something beautiful – underneath all the inevitable tensions that come with war, these female Marines and Afghan women are building relationships based on their similarities rather than their differences.  That’s a message we can apply to so many situations. 

See for yourself in this video: