Brooks travels to Afghanistan, Iraq
ANDERSON – U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks has made her first trip to visit American troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Brooks, R-5th District, joined a group of bipartisan congresswomen on the trip, which focused on meeting U.S. female service members, thanking them for their service, particularly during Mother’s Day, and learning about their experiences in the military.
During the visit, Brooks distributed Mother’s Day cards that were made by local students.
The congressional delegation met with Afghan and Iraqi women who are leaders in their communities, government, media and business.
During the visit, Brooks met 5th District resident Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Arnold, who is the first female command chief master sergeant to lead all U.S. airmen in Afghanistan.
Arnold shared with Brooks how fulfilling her career in the military has been, and how honored and humbled she is for the opportunity to be in the position.
Some of the troops they met with voiced concerns about access to the same quality of health care as their male colleagues once they come home, Brooks said.
“It is a problem that our female troops, who put their lives on the line to protect democracy and sacrifice time with their families in order to fight for our country, are concerned about a lack of access to the healthcare services they have earned,” she said in a press release. “The concerns I heard during this trip echoed the ones I have heard from Hoosiers in the Fifth District. Men and women have different medical needs and it is important that all of our veterans get quality care after their service.”
The congressional delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the first lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani, attended listening sessions with USAID representatives, heard from local businesses and female entrepreneurs, participated in round tables with Afghan female police and soldiers and had discussions with Iraqi female leaders and other humanitarian leaders.
“It was encouraging to hear that women in Afghanistan and Iraq are continuing to gain respect in their country and hold prominent roles in society, and that is due, in part, to the presence of our female troops,” Brooks said. “They are role models for not only the women in the Afghan and Iraqi military, but for the women who are now the head of households because their husbands have been taken from their homes or killed. Still, there is work to be done. Domestic violence and rape are shockingly commonplace, and many women we spoke to indicated that most Iraqi women have, at some point in their lives, been a victim of abuse. However, leaders in government, business and the nonprofit community are committed to changing this terrible reality.”