While women have served in the military since its incarnation, female soldiers have been absent from the army of children’s imaginations.

Until now.

The little man of the Green Army, who faces the fighting in the courtyards, bedrooms and back seats, will finally be joined by the little woman of the Green Army.

A toy maker recently announced that their company will produce small green army women action figures. It was inspired by a 7-year-old girl from Arkansas who sent him a letter asking why there weren’t any women in her bundle of little green army men.

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Behring was an early sponsor of the Kickstarter campaign that funded the Army’s Little Green Woman. Behring, formerly of Army Materiel Command’s public affairs, is the public affairs chief of the 75th Innovation Command, Army Reserve in Houston, Texas. She explained why the project was personal to her.

“I heard about the Green Army Women’s Small Initiative in a news article in November 2019 and immediately went to the Kickstarter page to read more details on what exactly it was about. I think I waited a day to decide which reward package I wanted, but it was only semantics, I was supporting this project! For what it’s worth, this was the first and only time I supported anything. I am the 411th out of 1,238 funders who pledged a total of $ 55,401 to get the project started. Sure, many, many more people have contributed since it was funded, but I’m delighted to say – humble brag – that I helped make it happen in the first place.

“The project was officially supported on December 17, 2019, which, incidentally, marks both the 20th anniversary of my Advanced Individual Training Diploma at the Defense Information School and the 15th anniversary of my Basic Chemical Officer Diploma. Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

“Why did I contribute? Well my dad is a retired air force officer, and we come from a long line of those who served, from the War of Independence to Korea – my direct ancestors came on the Mayflower. So my brother and I were very lucky growing up in places where we were free to play outside until the street lights came on and then tag or hide-and-seek with the neighbors’ kids during the been after dinner. My parents wanted to let the kids be kids, so my brother and I built, in retrospect, some very poor quality forts and treehouses from scrap wood, one of which was deliberately but terribly hidden in the woods. drink ; ambushed each other and the neighbor’s kid who didn’t want to share his Nintendo, behind the azalea bushes; and ran around with the only weapon my mother would leave us: a very visibly fake orange rifle.

“But that was only part of it. Inside I was all about my Barbies and playing with them for hours on end, and of course my only Jem doll and the holograms followed. My brother, like a lot of boys, had dozens and dozens of these green sets. I didn’t know a single girl who had them, and anyway, I was pretty indifferent to them because what can you really do with that when you’re eight? Align them? Shoot them down? Phew. I was a girl but loved to play outside so it was all about outfits, my handmade shoe boxes and posing – actively playing, not fighting. But for his birthday, my brother once had these GI Joes that were about the size of Barbie. I found myself pissed off that there weren’t any female dolls, and he sure wouldn’t let me play.

“I think that’s around the time I noticed the injustice. I’m pretty sure most of his green troops came from my beloved grandfather, who was a merchant navy in WWII, as a sort of nostalgia for the five and ten.

“I was not the kid who would one day join the army. It never really crossed my mind. I was a directory editor and in theater and musical theater. I did not “do” ROTC; but when I was 17 I found myself raising my right hand and my reserve unit ended up being the first army unit to deploy to Afghanistan after 9/11. The Rakkasans, 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade, actually arrived in the middle of an exchange of gunfire. My combatant and I have the distinction of being the very first female soldiers from any country to arrive in Afghanistan… but I got off the plane first. We lived in a medium GP tent with a stomach stove and no electricity or running water long before Kandahar was a fortified base with fast food restaurants and hard quarters, escorting the dozens of built-in racks we had at the time. beyond shallow waters. the foxholes that the guys “on the front line” were in. I was living it.

“Women have served for a long time longer than they were given credit for, but today there is no mistaking our contributions, despite the best efforts of some. I have deployed three times. I go to the VA for some of my health care. I have an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran’s plaque on my cars, and I’m a member of several veterans organizations. And, of course, I’m in the Army Reserve. Yet I am always told that discounts and military events are “not for me” and my bearded husband has lost count of how many times he was dismissed out of the car – he served in the German Navy. , so they are not wrong, but they are incorrect.

“Today my brother has three smart and strong young daughters. They give a sunny glimpse of what the future looks like and it’s exciting. The one in the middle, who is seven years old and shares a lot of my personality, loves seeing pictures of me in uniform and telling everyone that her aunt is a soldier. Every day is Women’s History Month – or Squirrel Month, whatever. I don’t know what they will do with their powers, or if they will join, but what I do know is that it is vital that children see the reflection of society in their toys and activities, and this includes the military. So the next time I can see and kiss them in person, after COVID, they’ll have their own women in the military, plus a few Rosie the Riveters, for good measure.