1st Lieutenant Phyllis Creamer
160th General Medical Corps
MIDN 1/C Precious Siddiquee
Nov. 12, 2016
Women in the Military:
Past, Present and Future
Chief Master Sergeant Sonja Williams
174th Attack Wing
Women in the Military: Past, Present, Future is the theme of the 10th Annual CNY Veterans Parade and Expo, to be held Nov. 4, 2017 at the NYS Fairgrounds. Women in the military have a rich history of service. Prior to and during the Revolutionary War, women disguised themselves to serve as soldiers. In WWI, women enlisted to serve in office roles and factory jobs vacated by men. In WWII and Vietnam Wars, women went from serving as spies to being nurses, to being pilots and serving in each of the military branches. In 1991, during the Gulf War women served with men in integrated units within a warzone for the first time. Women are a growing percentage of the military and have an increasing role in military operations. In 2015, there were 201,413 females, or 15.5 percent of the Active Duty force and 157,052 females, comprising 19.0 percent of the Reserves and National Guard, according to 2015 statistics from the Pentagon. This year’s theme honors the female veterans in the Central New York community and their service to our country.
Future: MIDN 1/C Precious Siddiquee is a senior at Cornell University from Brooklyn, New York and is the Cornell NROTC Battalion Executive Officer. She studies Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. On campus, she is involved with Philanthropy Committee in Phi Mu sorority, Society of Women Engineers, FIRST Robotics Alumni Association and National Center for Women in Information Technology. She hopes to become a Surface Warfare Officer, travel the world, and interact with other Navies around the globe. As Battalion Executive Officer, Precious oversees Midshipmen staff and accountability.
In her early high school years, she became highly involved with community service to create care packages and fundraisers for U.S. Service Members overseas and with developing initiatives to encourage young females to pursue futures in engineering and science related fields. Also, she has always been interested in learning about history from ancient times to present times and has achieved this by travelling to 27 countries.
Her career aspirations started from her unique experiences onboard a cruiser and a LHD in the Pacific Ocean and in Norfolk Naval Base during her 2/C and 1/C Summer Cruises. During both these summer training opportunities, she was able to interact with enlisted sailors and junior officers and learn about responsibilities in the surface warfare community. In addition, she was given the opportunities to see how United States Navy personnel interact with other navies, operate in diverse environments, and quickly make strategic decisions. As a result, MIDN Siddiquee is inspired to pursue a career on a surface ship to grow as a leader, travel the world to work with other navies, and proudly serve the United States.
Present: Chief Master Sergeant Sonja Antoinette Williams is the Human Resources Advisor for the 174th Attack Wing, Syracuse, NY. She is a hard charging and dedicated leader whose professionalism and eagerness to improve the Air Force culture is demonstrated in all her actions, according to her supervisors in the 174th.
In her civilian career Chief Williams is a Spanish teacher at Carthage Central High School in Carthage, New York.
She enlisted in the New York Air National Guard in December 1997 as a Personnel Specialist and was assigned to the Commander Support Staff in the Logistics Readiness Squadron. She felt it was a way of giving back to her country, and a way of to gain independence and start a career after being a stay at home mom for many years. In August 2006 she cross-trained into the Education and Training career field. She then transferred to the Civil Engineer Squadron where she became the Unit Education and Training Manager (UTEM). While assigned to the Civil Engineer Squadron she was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to the Manas Transit Center located near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In May 2012, Chief Sergeant Williams was selected as the Human Resources Advisor, and also serves as the Regional Representative where she guides the five HRAs in New York and two in New Jersey. Her focus is on Diversity and Inclusion, Force Development and Force Management as it pertains to the military and developing 21st Century Airmen. She also spearheaded the first formal Mentoring Program for the Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing.
Past: 1st Lieutenant Phyllis Mills Creamer, 96, joined the Army Nurse Corps in December 1943 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. After completing basic training in New Jersey, she sailed from New York City to England on the Queen Elizabeth to be one of the establishing members of the 160th General Medical Corps. She served at the largest US Army Hospital in the European Theater of Operations. “On one long day almost 2,000 wounded soldiers were sent to the 160th for admission and treatment,” She recalled. “Because of the shortage of doctors, nurses had to step up and care for the soldiers to the best of their abilities. Unlike the TV show M.A.S.H., there was no silliness or hankie pankie. The nurses worked around the clock, stayed in a small hut with no plumbing and no toilet.” She returned stateside in 1945 on the Queen Mary with the 82nd Airborne Division and was honorably discharged in 1946. She earned the Good Conduct Medal, European Campaign Medal and WWII Victory Medal.
Using the GI Bill she studied public health at Syracuse University, worked in the Visiting Nurse Association, and 16 years in Syracuse University’s Student Health Service as a triage and allergy nurse. She is active in the VFW, having served as an adjutant and commander of the Valley VFW. She was a charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, D.C. She recently participated in Mission 10 of the Syracuse Honor Flight trips to see the monuments in D.C.