Women of the 173rd
There is one constant in the universe and that is Change! The Army of Today is not exempt from this and so it should not come as a surprise that there are female Soldiers and Paratroopers today. The 173rd Airborne Brigade today has female soldiers in it.
1st LT Leslie Balfaqih a Military Police Corps officer and a Russian Linguist, served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. On her (unlucky) 13th jump she fractured her left ankle that left her with a Titanium plate. On her 14th Jump, she leaped into 173rd Airborne history. On 13 June 2000 at 1500 hours she was third to exited the 7th aircraft in a group of eight C-130 aircraft over Drop Zone Juliet in Italy. Unknowingly Lt. Balfaqih became the first female Sky Soldier to jump with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
(now a Captain)
She is pictured above shortly after the Jump and wearing an M.P. Brassard, that she wore during the jump that was also worn by a fellow M.P. Sky Soldier in Vietnam (Tom Kelly, MP Platoon 6/65 to 9/66).
There are approximately 30 women serving in various support roles in the 173rd Airborne Brigade at the time of reactivation. This number will change as the needs of the Brigade and the Army change. But one thing is for sure, they are all SkySoldiers.
173rd Color Guard
Click on any of the thumbnail to see a larger photo
as of 24 August 2000
Women of the 173d, 173d Women in Iraq
Women War Casualties 173rdAirborne.com