The onset of Female Engagement Teams

Amy Forsythe served on five combat tours as a correspondent and Public Affairs Officer. In 2006, she was part of the first-ever Female Engagement Teams in Iraq. I am excited to share her story this week on the podcast as I have done a lot of research about Female Engagement Teams, but have found limited information. It will be exciting to hear her experience being on the first one. 

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Female Engagement Teams

Listen to the full episode here.

Defense Information School Faculty

She joined the Defense Information School faculty in 2019 as a government civilian after four years as bureau chief for the Defense Media Activity in Guam, supervising day-to-day operations and coordinating multimedia coverage throughout the Indo-Pacific region. 

Combat Correspondent and Public Affairs Chief

Amy served as a combat correspondent and public affairs chief in the Marine Corps from 1993 through 2010, when she was commissioned as a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve. 

Her first duty station was Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she produced daily radio and video reports as part of Operation Sea Signal and Joint Task Force 160, the military operation in response to the influx of Cuban and Haitian migrants attempting to gain asylum in the U.S. She transferred to Camp Pendleton, California in 1995. She served as a military journalist for the base newspaper and operations manager for the commander’s information channel. In 2003, Amy served as an instructor in the broadcast and public affairs departments at the Defense Information School, and while at DINFOS, was selected to be one of the first on-air anchors of the Pentagon Channel when it debuted in 2004.

In 2002, she was mobilized and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Amy also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 and 2008. It was in 2006, the value of the intelligence information was believed to be among the Iraqi women. Women would talk to each other as they performed their daily tasks and had a wealth of information. But American men were unable to gather that intelligence. 

Female Engagement Teams

Women began to be integrated into combat arms units to gather that information and the role of Female Engagement Teams began. Many people do not understand the role of women in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts over the past twenty years. Now all roles are open to women within the military because of the work women have done. This change was due to the courage and commitment of women starting with Female Engagement Teams.

She was mobilized to active duty for two more deployments to Afghanistan, serving as the senior U.S. PAO at the German-led NATO Command in 2012 and as the PAO for Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force under the Joint Special Operations Command in 2018. 

She served a yearlong tour in 2014 at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, supporting special operations exercises in Niger, coordinating a large-scale African media conference, and helping to develop contingency plans for the military response to the Ebola virus. In 2019, she served as the PAO for naval support facilities and Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. 


As a civilian, she has worked as a general assignments and military beat reporter for NBC affiliates in San Diego, and as a producer and anchor for Oceanside Community Television in northern San Diego County, She was an adjunct professor at the California International Business University, teaching at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from California State University at San Marco and a Master of Science in global leadership from the University of San Diego.


She has won numerous journalism awards, including the Marine Corps Broadcaster of the Year award in 2006, and the PRSA Bronze and Silver Anvil awards in 2009.

Connect with Amy:



Related Episode:

When Public Affairs Changed – Episode 67

How A Care Package Created a Business – Episode 74

Finding Herself in the Marines – Episode 12







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