Warrant Officer Candidate’s determination captures spirit of Women’s Equality Day

Story by Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Lyddane

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Warrant Officer Candidate Stephanie Bradley and her fellow Warrant Officer Candidates from Class 15-001 take part in a WOCS tradition by presenting their class sign to the Fort Rucker, Alabama staff.  (Kentucky Army National Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Lyddane)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — Prior to August 26, 1920, women were considered inferior to men, they were limited to careers that many believed to be suppressive, and society’s view placed them as being less capable than their male counterparts. After more than seventy years of campaigning (the first women’s rights conference was held a Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848) history was made when women were officially added to the US Constitution under the 19th Amendment, granting them the right to vote. A small victory but a huge accomplishment at the time and also marked a turning point in the struggle for equality and women’s rights; no longer were women considered second class citizens. For this reason, August 26th has been declared by the President as Women’s Equality Day since 1972.

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Throughout the last century women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Grace Hopper, Jackie-Joyner-Kersee, and Maya Lin have shattered barriers and confronted stereotypes; each joining the ranks of thousands who have fueled the imagination and drive of others with aspirations of making a difference. Similar to those original trail blazers, there is a new generation of women on the forefront proving that women are skilled, qualified, and resilient enough to overcome the challenges offered in today’s military.

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In the early morning hours on July 18, 2015, the Warrant Officer Candidates of Class 15-001 are required to complete a 6.2 mile ruck march in less than 106 minutes. This is one the many tests required of WOCs during their training and — according to Warrant Officer Candidate Stephanie Bradley — one of the toughest challenges yet. (Kentucky Army National Guard photo by WOC David Cureton)

Stephanie Bradley is one such example. One of five siblings, three brothers and a twin sister she decided to enlist in the Kentucky Army National Guard eight years ago in order to support her personal goal of attending college.Because of her background, hard work ethic, and accompanying reputation, she is in pursuit of a new goal after receiving approval to become a Warrant Officer. She is one of eleven Warrant Officer Candidates currently attending the 238th Regimental Training Institute’s Warrant Officer Candidate School at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky – and in observance of Women’s Equality Day it is important to point out she is the only female.

“I was inspired by all the Warrant Officers I have met and wanted to progress in my professional career,” said Bradley.

Upon commissioning and after completing her Warrant Officer Basic Course she will be a 920B, Supply Systems Technician responsible for instructing, managing, and supervising the receipt, storage, and issuance of supplies and equipment.

The male dominated Warrant Officer Candidate Class 15-001, aptly named the Brown Bears can be an intimidating environment to some but for Warrant Officer Candidate (WOC) Bradley, it’s a welcomed challenge and, now six months into the course, has almost solidified her dream. As a previous nominee for Unit NCO of the year and Battalion Soldier of the year, it is clear that her superiors have recognized her talent.

“WOC Bradley consistently demonstrates the subject matter expertise that Warrant Officers are known for. She will make an excellent addition to the Warrant Officer Corps,” said Capt. Jake Kwiek, commander of Alpha Company, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion.

When her peer and fellow candidate WOC John Smith was asked what makes her stand out from the rest, he replied, “She always goes above what is expected and has been an asset for the entire class, she personally developed our study methods that has kept us all on track.”

“From the first day I met WOC Bradley during last January’s OCS/WOCS open house, I was impressed with her initiative and ability to get things done, and done right,” said State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops. “She initially stood out amongst her fellow applicants by her ability to complete the application process in a very short period of time, and in time to attend Zero Phase in March and begin Phase Two in April.

“I knew then, this Soldier was Warrant Officer material and would go far as a Supply Systems Technician. I have no doubts she has a bright future ahead of her and will be a great asset to the Kentucky Army National Guard and the Quartermaster Corps.”

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts (minor in psychology) from Lindsey Wilson College, an extensive amount of military training, several accolades, and a reputable civilian career in production control at Lockheed-Martin, this future warrant officer has proven to be one of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s rising stars.

Bradley’s advice to other females in the military? “Do not let the perceived physical standards hold you back. Be willing to step outside of their comfort zones and if you’re the one complaining and wishing things would change, then put yourself in a position where you can change it – as a leader.”

For more information on the Kentucky National Guard’s warrant officer program contact Chief Warrant Officer Ryan Turner at (502) 607-6200, Cell: (502) 320-3653 or email at Ryan.turner2@usarec.army.mil.

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