Military Ladies – Another First!
BDF Media Release| 10 September 20
Photography and Story credit: Private Kyle Straker
The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) is privileged to witness yet another major milestone in its 41 years of establishment. After 33 years of magnanimous service, Warrant Officer Class one (WO1) Michelle Thompson became the first female to attain the highest rank of an enlisted soldier.
Thompson’s esteemed 33-year career started in the Reserve element in 1987 before transitioning to the Full Time element in 1991. Becoming a soldier was always the first choice for a career path for Thompson. She has excelled through the Barbados Cadet Corps Junior Leaders program, the BDF Band and Barbados Regiment Reserves before serving in the full time element. She has made various achievements throughout her career such as clerk of the year, receiving the Glendairy medal and the 15-year Service Medal just to name a few.
WO1 Thompson says her career as a female soldier “has always had its ups and downs but it’s something I always wanted to do, it’s just my way of life…it’s a part of me”. While WO1 Thompson may not have served in any disaster relief regional deployments, she has traveled abroad with the BDF Band, most notable the 1999 Edinburgh tattoo, India for study in Computer Automation, Belize for Company Quarter Master Stores training, regionally in Jamaica to attend a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer training course and as an instructor on the BDF Training Wing (BDF Trg) in 2000 and 2001.
WO1 Thompson shared a piece of advice for all female soldiers and members of the Force, she stated” they have to be observant and they have to give of their best at all times despite whatever stumbling block may come their way they have to keep moving forward otherwise they will crumble”. WO1 Thompson says it feels “IMPRESSIVE” to be the first female WO1 and she would like to especially thank, firstly, the Lord and her cadet superiors that helped to guide her to this point.
Currently serving as the G4 Quarter Master within the Force, the Staff Officer responsible for Logistics, Warrant Officer Class One Michelle Thompson has aspirations to one day, before retirement, serve as a commissioned officer in the Force.