Women of the Air Force, Past, and Present
The US Air Force is one of the five branches of the military in the United States. All five branches of the military have a primary objective to defend her country in the event of military conflict, as well as assist American allies. Sometimes the military will offer protection and aid for various groups and natural disasters, such as the recent hurricanes.
Courageous men and women serve the US and bravely enlist in the US Air Force. Some of the tasks that the Air Force completes include repairing and constructing new runways, guarding US airports and military bases around the world, patrolling enemy targets, in addition to the obvious bombing missions and cargo transportation.
Some of the most famous men, including country singer, Johnny Cash, and actor, James Stewart, have been recognized in the Air Force. But what about the countless women who have overcome obstacles and stereotypes, and have served their country honorably because of their unwavering dedication to the United States of America. These women, whether they be on the ground, or in the air have successfully earned the privilege to serve side-by-side with their male counterparts. Some of the women who stand out above the rest are Maxine King, Colonel Eileen Collins, and General Lori J. Robinson.
- Col. Maxine King, also known as Micki King enlisted in the US Air Force in 1966. Ms. King was a two-time US Olympic Diver who used her athletic expertise to her advantage. She became the first female athletics instructor at the US Air Force Academy in the early 1970’s. According to the US Air Force’s website, Micki also served on a committee and was greatly influential in prompting the military academies to open their doors to women. During her career in the Air Force, Ms. King was promoted to Colonel and retired in 1992.
- As a small child, Col. Eileen Collins was mesmerized when she’d watch the aircraft perform amazing tricks and aerial acrobatics at the countless air shows her and her father attended. She knew that she wanted to be a pilot and enlisted in the Air Force in 1979. Shortly after her training, she became the first woman flight instructor, who also happened to teach mathematics. She remained in this capacity for the next eleven years. Ms. Collins attended the Air Force Test Pilot School and was one of the first women to graduate in 1990. Throughout her career in the Air Force, Ms. Collins earned the rank of Colonel and decided to enroll with NASA to be an astronaut. Upon the completion of her aeronautical training, she became the first woman to pilot a space mission. Later, in 1999, she was the first female to be a shuttle commander a space shuttle. Col. Collins retired from the US Air Force in 2005.
- For Gen. Lori J. Robinson, serving in the US Air Force is a family tradition as her father is a 30-year veteran. Her husband, who is now a retired General, and daughter served in the Air Force as well. After 9/11, the Pentagon created nine centers to work with Canada and patrol the US and assist in emergency situations. One of these centers is called Northern Command where Gen. Robinson was one of the leading superior officers for that facility. General Robinson’s peers speak highly of her and recognize her strong leadership skills, her insight into confronting and solving problems, as well as her compassion for others. General Robinson is one of two women who are four-star Generals in the US Air Force and is still serving in this capacity today.
Over the last 50 years or so, the Air Force has made great strides in allowing women to serve the United States along-side their “brothers in arms.” Thankfully, the rights of women have come a long way.
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