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
#MentorMonday: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mu… https://t.co/PjGcBMVliB
Our partnerships and @NATO allies help keep our mission moving forward. https://t.co/5R4ZB7XqXs
$40M up for grabs! Find out how your small business can make some cash while helping solve some of the #USAF's toug… https://t.co/0AEmZhZGdI
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy birthday 🎉 to #USAF Col & #space pioneer Buzz Aldrin @TheRealBuzz ✈️🚀 https://t.co/gIsicyA1uk
#Innovation! First metallic #3Dprinted part installed on an operational #F22 Raptor @HAFB. The new part will not co… https://t.co/rkKr1jtThg
Practice makes perfect! These #SpecOps medical experts maintain readiness & relevance for all operations, today and… https://t.co/WMpdt9LTGe
Remembering a woman who changed the world: Millicent Young, Women #AirForce Service Pilot in World War II, dies at… https://t.co/mri1QRXOC8
From fast food to future technology, one #Airman found a new calling @AirNatlGuard and decided to ditch the fryer f… https://t.co/I8qX7GpH4n
An #F35 sits on the flightline @LukeAFB, Jan. 10. Six different aircraft maintenance units from #TeamLuke competed… https://t.co/OxVMxf7Ayw
It takes a lot of coordination to clear a flightline of snow, but @TeamMisawa--a place that averaged more than 147… https://t.co/VQ4qjdsxFz
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is our responsibility to maintain a strong national defense @usairforce https://t.co/JXzhtqdMrg
When lives are on the line, there is no margin for error. Combat Search & Rescue #Airmen at #MoodyAFB conduct pre-d… https://t.co/AsWzaa1I00
RT @AFResearchLab: When a product goes from lab to battlefield, you can expect some amazing capabilities. See what work we've done to assis…
A B-2 Spirit bomber from @Whiteman_AFB, conducts aerial refueling near @JointBasePHH, during an interoperability tr… https://t.co/wzM5GvcviS
The #AirForce Life Cycle Management Center team is working to acquire next generation fixed-wing helmet.… https://t.co/LJ2xeCLdf2
Capt Jerry Yellin, #WWII fighter pilot who flew the last combat mission in August 1945, was laid to rest… https://t.co/XnSB9Yo3PC
75 years of @WrightPattAFB! Take a walk down memory lane with the leaders in military aviation development. https://t.co/vmjwxLUydg
C-5M #SuperGalaxy aircrew & aerial port specialists @Travis60AMW join the @USArmy to transport four UH-60… https://t.co/kTxdf9axY5
RT @SecAFOfficial: Why do we care about #space? It's contested. It's congested. It's competitive. https://t.co/DJZBjF2NHu
To continue the military’s strides to become a more cohesive force, @MacDill_AFB hosted its first #Joint #PME enhan… https://t.co/K56KEUVnIb