Local

March 8, 2013

Women who aren’t afraid of heights or fights

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christine Phillips, 820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers Airborne from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., has her parachute harness tightened during a T-11 parachute training class Feb. 21 at Fort Bragg, N.C. The T-11 parachute is a bigger parachute than the 820th RED HORSE Airmen are used to using.

Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. — With women now allowed to pursue combat related career fields, the first notion is that women have not participated in combat related duties whatsoever. But in reality this isn’t the first time women have been put in the line of fire.

During an airborne training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., female airborne engineers are taking part in combat training parachute jumps that simulate the seizure of a foreign runway. One of the roles is RED HORSE Airborne.

Expectations for male and female airborne members are set to an equal standard.

“In my eyes, no, I’m not treated any better or worse than any Soldier in the company,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Bianka Lathan, 161st Engineer Support Company. “I have just always been expected to perform as the same as my [male] counterparts.”

The strength and endurance it takes to be a part of an airborne unit isn’t a walk in the park for anyone. Physically demanding tasks such as carrying heavy packs, weapons and rucking after landing from a parachute jump are tasks airborne engineers must be able to complete whether they are male or female.

“For sure women need to be held to the same physical standards as men, in case we have to pull one of them or carry the same equipment,” said said Staff Sgt. Christine Phillips, 820th RED HORSE engineer craftsman. “I am able to run just like they run, I can ruck just as long as they can, I don’t hold them up.”

Not only do these women carry the weight of work and family, they also deal with the pressure and expectations they place on themselves.

“Being the first female, 1st Sgt. for the 161st Engineer Support Company, I want to ensure I do everything I’m supposed to do at a high level so there isn’t any doubt,” Lathan said, “Recently, at Jump Master School, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I completed the school on my first time, but it was really just me putting [the pressure] on myself.”

With the ban of women in combat lifted, women will now be able to pursue the same combat career paths as men in the military.

“It is a great opportunity; I feel there are many strong women who can perform at any level,” Phillips said.

“I have been in for 19 years and [have] seen the changes for women’s equality and I feel this opportunity is something women have been fighting for a very long time to be able to do,” Lathan said.

“Having women in airborne units might not be smooth all the time, but being given the same opportunity as a man has given hardworking women the chance to prove to themselves and others that they can reach and achieve the same goals as their male counterpart,” Phillips said.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

40 years of Red Flag ends on high note

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., flies to the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 15-4, Aug. 25. With a...
 
 

Never underestimate your impact

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — Every day I visit our great Airmen and every day I come across more than one that underestimates their impact to the mission. There’s the one-stripe maintainer, “just repaneling an aircraft,” for the next day’s flight, or the young personalist, “just issuing another identification card,” or the defender, “just guarding...
 
 

Challenge yourself: Never give up, never quit

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — I once read that newly created cells in our bodies do one of two things: they either begin to decay or they become more vital. These cells choose their path based on what we demand of them. If we are sedentary, our brains signal our cells to decay; but...
 

 

SECDEF visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Lawrence Crespo U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Airmen from Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases during an all-call at the Lightning Aircraft Maintenance Unit hangar on Nellis AFB, Nev., Aug. 26. Carter’s department is responsible for policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluations for the...
 
 

Air Force extends SAPR services to AF civilians

WASHINGTON — The Air Force released a policy memo today allowing Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault to file restricted and unrestricted reports with their installation’s sexual assault response coordinator. The policy is effective immediately and allows SARCs and sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates to assist Air Force civilians...
 
 

TRICARE pharmacy rules changing for maintenance, brand-name drugs

WASHINGTON — TRICARE beneficiaries who take certain brand-name medications on a regular basis will be required to fill prescriptions at a military treatment facility or through a mail-in program beginning Oct. 1, a Defense Health Agency official said here Aug. 20. George Jones, DHA’s pharmacy operations division chief, said the new policy does not apply...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>