HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Women’s March

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- March is typically known around the world as Women’s History Month. Although it happens every year, I sense that 2017 is unique.

While reading daily news and scrolling through social media news feeds, I could not avoid the headlines, posts and comments about the very recent developments concerning women’s issues. Major events are being recorded, both positive and negative, which may be read in news articles and school textbooks for years to come.

In light of the ups and downs, men and women around the world are continuing to raise awareness for the fight to respect women as equals. From commemoration events to peaceful demonstrations, people are thinking of creative ways to help empower a demographic which has been marginalized for thousands of years.

But there is a different kind of women’s march which I would like to emphasize.

I am talking about more than 200,000 women who serve in the military. Women who wear the same uniform, swear the same oath, fight for the same country and march in the same boots as men.

Very early in my Air Force career I read a biography of Staff Sgt. Esther Blake, the first woman in the Air Force.

According to Air Force history, Blake enlisted “in the first minute of the first hour of the first day” when the Air Force opened regular duty to women in 1948. Before joining the newly independent Air Force, she served in the Women’s Army Corps to support the U.S. troops during World War II.

She was quoted as saying she joined the WAC to “free a Soldier from clerical work to fight, thus speeding the end of the war.”

While her reason might raise some eyebrows in the 21st century, her desire to serve her country and help win the war is undeniable.

Today, women who wish to enlist in the Air Force are no longer limited to clerical work. Women can serve as pilots, security forces, civil engineers, medical technicians and much more. Women serve in every rank from airman to general. In late 2015, former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter declared all combat roles in the military open to women.

It takes courage to join the military at a time when the combat ranks are heavily dominated by men. It takes courage to raise a hand and pledge your life to something greater than yourself, knowing your life is no longer your own. It takes courage to work endless hours just to get by, and then come home knowing you have a lot more responsibilities waiting for you. It takes courage to do all of that knowing there are people who doubt you because of your gender and still come to work with them every day.

There is another woman I would like to highlight, one who is very personal to me — one of my ancestors, Teresa Magbanua.

You may have never heard of her before. She was a housewife-turned-military leader who defied social norms to fight for her country.

When the Philippine Revolution broke out in the late 1800s, she followed her two brothers into the war. She led troops into battle against the colonizers – and often won. Even after her brothers died under mysterious circumstances, she kept on fighting. She won the confidence of her troops, who called her “Nay Isa,” or “Mother Teresa.”

During World War II, she participated in the conflict by providing supplies to resistance fighters and did not use old age as an excuse not to serve her nation.

Both Blake and Magbanua took up arms, marched for something they believed in and fought for their countries.

I am constantly inspired by my wife, my mother and my sisters. They have made significant contributions in my life and I would not be who I am today if it were not for them.

They stood by me in my difficult times and sacrificed things that were important to them for the sake of my future.

At the end of the day, I live by this principle which I hope others will realize: although made differently, men and women are equal.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@HollomanAFB & its co-located units will realign from @USAF_ACC to @AETCommand, effective Oct. 1.… https://t.co/UkCYJQoZzn
Identical twins share near-identical military careers as #USAF security forces #Airmen. https://t.co/odHGdsgsOe https://t.co/2DUsDK6CIR
Thousands of #Airmen have found support through our Exceptional Family Member Program, which allows them to proceed… https://t.co/OVSsRLN6F7
Hear @GenDaveGoldfein expound on what it takes to modernize #AirForce squadrons for future missions. https://t.co/a6F0tRfMxU
If you aren't taking advantage of #FollowFriday by following @Creech_AFB you are missing out on the famed "Hunters"… https://t.co/omTO945zAf
May we never forget, National #POWMIA Recognition Day. https://t.co/Oyu82RbIRO
RT @HQ_AFMC: Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the @usairforce Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, was one of the featured speake…
#ICYMI, Ms. Brie Larson, star of the upcoming feature film "Captain Marvel," joined #Airmen from across the NCR and… https://t.co/6lxYK3l85A
“Our dogs are definitely not pets; they are #MilitaryWorkingDogs – assets to the #USAF…The trust these teams have i… https://t.co/PVPq9Up5iN
#USAF optometry clinics keep #Airmen's eyes healthy so they can keep their sights set on the mission.… https://t.co/siyO4osHjr
First female chaplain from the #171ARW completes Leadership Development Institute training, develops the first… https://t.co/oFFpYZf9Mg
.@USAFReserve #Airmen @45thSpaceWing put their lives on temporary hold to respond to the aftermath of… https://t.co/m0yaqqUEaV
#ICYMI, @HAFB took a different approach to #cosplay at #FanX18 by teaming up with the Utah Engineers Council to pre… https://t.co/RChVGaP8rN
RT @USAFHealth: #TBT Flight Nurse Captain Shirley A. Armstrong hands a cup of fruit juice to a patient in a C-141 Starlifter during a medic…
Rapid global mobility is the mantra of the #816EAS and #ICYMI #Airmen continued to live it by shuttling cargo and l… https://t.co/5VI4R4wFQa
.@AETCommand officials announced the second iteration of Pilot Training Next https://t.co/qB5YwQSLip
RT @SecAFOfficial: The #AirForce We Need, begins with resilient and ready #Airmen. #ASC18 #CMSAF https://t.co/ogfN6Xtn2V https://t.co/kyCJ…
We're going #LIVE as #CMSAF Wright speaks at #ASC18. Watch on our Facebook page at 10:45 a.m. EDT:… https://t.co/LIc3O6CdiW