Women Soldiers contribute to 36th Infantry Division history
By Spc. Kia Riddley-Colbert
56th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office
Texas Army National Guard
LEFT: Spc. Janie Reyna, of Plainview, Texas, and a Soldier of the 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, holds an Iraqi child she befriended during a civil affairs mission in southern Iraq. (Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo, 56th Brigade Public Affairs Office)
ALI AIR BASE, Iraq – During the predawn hours of Sept. 9, 1943, the leading waves of Soldiers of the 36th Infantry Division stepped on the sandy shore of Italy. Making history as the first American unit to set foot in western Europe during World War II, they started the long march to wrestle the continent from the grasp of Nazi Germany.
The renowned Texas unit was reactivated again for Operation Iraqi Freedom to help fight the global war on terrorism. Standing within its ranks were female Soldiers who also made their own history: They became the first women in the unit to serve in combat when they crossed the berm from Kuwait into Iraq on Jan. 21, 2005.