VFW Magazine — March 2018
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Issues Up Front
Dave Spiva

Women Veterans are More Successful

A Census Bureau analysis published in August 2017 shows how women who serve in the military are different from their nonveteran counterparts.

The analysis finds “early- career” women veterans, defined as ages 18 to 34, were more likely to be married and with a child in the household. They also were enrolled in college at a higher rate than female nonveterans.

According to the Census Bureau, female veterans were more likely than their non-veteran counterparts to have fulltime, year-round jobs and work in the government. Female veterans also are more likely to have higher median earnings than women who never were in the military.

The bureau report shows mid-career (ages 35 to 44) and late-career (ages 45 to 64) women veterans were more likely to be enrolled in college, too. Mid- and late-career female veterans also were found to have more bachelors’ degrees compared to nonveterans.

The brief, called Characteristics of Female Veterans — An Analytic View Across Age — Cohorts: 2015, uses data from the 2015 American Community Survey that represents the civilian population. The information used by the bureau is from three different age groups: 18 to 34, 35 to 44 and 45 to 64.

For more statistics about women who served in the military, go to www.census.gov/topics/population/veterans.html.

‘Best Possible Commander’ becomes Highest Ranking Woman in Afghanistan

A West Point grad with extensive experience in central Asia leads the U.S. training effort in Afghanistan.


Army Maj. Gen. Robin Fontes in July 2017 became the commander of Security Transition Command in Afghanistan — making her the highest ranking woman to ever serve in the war.

Fontes graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986. She served in Afghanistan from June 2004 to May 2006 based at Kabul and Tarinkot. Fontes returned to the country for a one-year tour in July 2011 at Mazar-i- Sharif. She also has served in Pakistan.

“She is the most proficient and competent officer at Security Assistance in our military,” said Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, during Fontes’ change-of-command ceremony last year in Kabul. “So, not only is she the most experienced in this region — 12 years in the region — those jobs have all involved security assistance to the nations of the region.”

Fontes’ unit is part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission that trains and develops Afghan security forces.

Also during his speech, Nicholson said Fontes is the “best possible commander” for Security Transition Command because of her “intelligence and toughness.”

EMAIL dspiva@vfw.org