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      SC National Guard celebrates women in history

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH,AP) -- The South Carolina National Guard celebrated the contributions of women during Women's History Month.

      Thursday's observation was at a National Guard complex in Columbia.

      Adj. Gen. Robert Livingston says it is important to mark the contributions of women in the Guard, as well as civilian women who support Guard members.

      Livingston says women in the military serve a cause that is greater than themselves. But Livingston says contributions from the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and even grandmothers of Guard members should also be recognized.

      There are about 1,780 women who serve in the 10,700-member Army and Air National Guard in South Carolina.

      Other women, like Maria Yturria serve in other ways. Yturria is a Sergeant with the Richland County Sheriff's Department; and teaches self defense to women. She encourages other women to serve.

      "We are always taught to be caregivers and to be courteous," Yturria said. "Not that it is a bad thing, but it is ok to be strong and assertive as a female."

      Barbara Livingston, wife of Adj. Gen. Livingston said the month of remembrance includes women protecting the home front as well.

      "We serve very quietly cause nobody knows who we are," Livingston said. "You won't recognize us in a restaurant, airport, or school. That being said, during our deployments, we struggle to keep life normal for the family."

      Characteristics they hope will build stronger women in the years ahead.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)