Salute to our heroes: Robertson is guest speaker at Veterans Day program in Windom

WINDOM -- For 30 years, Windom American Legion Post 206 and Ladies Legion Auxiliary have celebrated Veterans Day by honoring those in the community who have served in the U.S. military.

Capt. Tara Robertson speaks to the audience about her experiences in the military during Wednesday’s Veterans Day program in the Windom Area School gym. (Kristin Kirtz/Daily Globe)

WINDOM - For 30 years, Windom American Legion Post 206 and Ladies Legion Auxiliary have celebrated Veterans Day by honoring those in the community who have served in the U.S. military.
Schoolchildren sang and played patriotic songs as people attending Wednesday’s Veterans Day program at Windom Area High School remembered those who have dedicated their lives to the United States.
Retired Sgt. Major Aubrey Fillbrandt welcomed the audience and introduced platform guests, including guest speaker Capt. Tara Robertson.
Robertson spoke about her experience with the Minnesota Army National Guard. She currently serves as commander of B Company and also works full-time in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a training officer for the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion in Litchfield. She became the first female in Minnesota assigned to a formerly all-male combat arms unit.
Many of Robertson’s stories centered on the fact that she has accomplished her goals in spite of being a woman in the military.
“This is what I do, and I love doing it,” Robinson said. “The Army has changed my life and has given me many opportunities that I probably never would have had. I don’t hold anything against the military for not allowing women to do certain things in the past because they thought it was the right thing to do. ...
“I hope that when people see me, they don’t recognize me as a female soldier. I’m just a soldier that just happens to be a female.”
In December 2014, Robinson also became and continues to be the only female in the nation to attend the Bradley Commander’s Certification Course.
“When I was there, I outperformed everybody in my class - I earned the highest scores in everything all around,” she said. “But when I got back, the Army still hadn’t quite caught up with its own policy. When I returned home, I wasn’t allowed to be awarded the additional skill identifier, ASI, after completing the course, because as it stood, women weren’t actually allowed to go to the course - even though I had already gone to the course and graduated the course.”
She said it took a few months, but about five months later the Army changed its policy, and she was awarded the skill identifier she had earned.
Robertson thanked the Windom community for putting on a great Veterans Day program, as well offering gratitude to local veterans and their families.
“I’m extremely, extremely honored to be asked here today,” Robertson said. “I have had the opportunity to go to quite a bit of different Veterans Day programs in the past. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with such a turnout of community support, so I want to say thank you to you guys. 
“I saw a lot of people standing up in the crowd before when asked to stand, and I want to say thank you to you as well,” she continued. “And thank you to you families. A lot of times people often forget while we serve in the military, the spotlight is on us, but we have one back home that joined the military with us whether or not they wanted to. They sacrifice just as much as we do but in a different way. So it’s important to remember our families as well on Veterans Day.”

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