8/27/2013 -- CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – August 26, 1920, became a turning point in American history as the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. Ninety-three years later, 1st Marine Logistics Group continues to recognize women’s achievements.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, several Marines and sailors were recognized for their exceptional work, including Ensign Maureena Sosa and Petty Officer 2nd Class Mai Pham.
Sosa, an administration officer-in-charge with 1st Medical Battalion, 1st MLG, and a 30-year-old native of Cavite, Philippines, came to the states when she was 18. Sosa knew from a young age that she wanted to join the military.
“When I was in high school my uncle would send me cruise books,” said Pham. “When I looked through his books I was inspired. I always wanted to be in the Navy because most of the females in my family are involved in the medical field.”
Sosa enlisted as a hospital corpsman and served ten years. She specialized as an X-ray technician and completed an advanced X-ray school. She accomplished all this while being a single mother and continuing her college classes. After ten years Sosa pursued her dream of becoming a Naval Officer and in 2011 took the oath of office at the Navy Officer Candidate School.
Throughout the years Sosa has seen a change in the military.
“The forces have changed throughout the years,” she added. “I think it’s great because that creates more advancement opportunities for women. There are so many women who are hard chargers and it’s good if we give them a chance to make significant contributions.”
Women have come a long way throughout the years, but they did not get to this point by doing the bare minimum.
“I know it can get difficult sometimes but you have to love what you are doing and you have to put your heart into it,” added Sosa. “Don’t ever think that you can’t. It’s about owning it. Embrace the fact that we are all created equal and whatever men can do women can do too.”
When Marines or sailors need guidance, they look to those with the leadership skills they esteem most.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mai Pham, a leading petty officer with 1st Dental Battalion, 1st MLG and a 25-year-old native of Houston, knows she needs to set the example for her junior sailors.
“I try to go above and beyond what is required,” she added. “I take classes, volunteer throughout the command and put in the hours needed to get the job done correctly.”
Pham came to the states from Vietnam when she was eight. Her dream was to pursue humanitarian missions in third world countries.
“Coming from a third world country I know what it is like,” said Pahm. “I want to be able to give back and do my part to help.”
Pham has volunteered several of her hours to volunteer work. She hopes to one day travel back to Vietnam and provide medical care to those in need.
Starting school in a new country was challenging, but Pham credits her leadership skills to the strength she gained while overcoming those challenges.
“Sometimes you have to work harder as a female,” she added. “But I know I can overcome any obstacle. You can’t give up because you are struggling in one area. You need to know your strengths and build on that.”
“Pham is outstanding,” said Navy Commander William J. Lyons, general dentist and annex director, 1st Dental Bn., 1st MLG. “She is heavily involved in collateral duties around here and is always involved in command activities. It’s good to have people you can rely on and are self-starters. She is out there working to improve herself and help others. She has a positive outlook and it affects their coworkers.”
This year marks the 93rd anniversary of Women’s Equality Day. For many years to come, both men and women of all colors and creeds will continue to uphold some of America’s strongest principles: we are all equal, and everyone deserves a chance to pursue one’s dreams.