I’ve now flown on C-17’s coming to and from the Charleston Air Base with an all male air crew and now an all female air crew - both were incredibly special, in different ways.
I think the first woman to hold the role of Adjutant General for the Maryland National Guard said how I'm feeling best:
“When you see a male leadership team, you don’t think anything of it,” she said. “That’s the point we need to get to, where it becomes the norm. And we’re not quite there yet,” Maj. Gen. Linda L. Singh
I say this not to push a pro-identity politicking agenda, I say this with pride because women quite literally haven’t been allowed to serve in some of the most elite posts in our military until recently. Understand that this is a head & heart issue for me. Here’s why ... by now you’ve likely heard me speak of my father’s Special Forces Service in the Army in Vietnam. If not, here's a recap!
I can't lie, it stung when a young Vet at my Dad’s VFW send-off days after his death said:
" ... too bad you weren’t a boy!"
I explained what really was "too bad" was the fact that I wasn't allowed the opportunity to potentially serve in our Special Forces. No women were allowed, until more recently.
Guys, we’ve had this debate on-air before: 'it’s in our DNA to protect women, Kelly' or 'women would be a distraction' and 'women can’t pull OUR weight.'
All valid points, that are easily overcome with ALL FEMALE FORCES, like in Afghanistan where their Special Security Forces has an all Female Tactical Platoon - who are esp. handy when operations require interaction with women and children. Or how about Norway’s ‘Hunter Troop’? There the World's First All-Female Special Forces Unit. Why is America letting Norway beat us to that first? And, how about in Israel? Women are required to serve!
We’re behind the times when it comes to allowing women to serve in every aspect of our Armed Forces, and yes things are changing. In 2016 U.S. DOD finally repeal a ban on women serving in ground combat assignments, but almost 3 yrs later, relatively few have been trained or assigned to these jobs. Norway opened up all military roles to women In the 1980’s.
I know that in the ‘50s women could join National Guard as ‘medical officers.’ But, it took four more decades for a woman to rise to the level of a state adjutant general, which is the top commander of a state’s military forces. In the Air Force, women didn’t get to enter fighter pilot training until 1993. To be clear, ladies first entered pilot training in the AF in 1976, and navigator training in 1977.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH 2019
I’m so happy to see ladies rising through the ranks, even with my own eyes over the weekend as we srap up Women’s History Month. A special thank you to the incredible ladies of the 315th Airlift Wing & 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston for teaming up to use an all-female aircrew on a C-17 Globemaster III to demonstrate:
- · Low level flying 1000’ above the coast of South Carolina from about Kiawah Island up to Myrtle Beach
- · Tactical approaches and assault landings
- · Combat offload with passengers on board
It brings me great pride to spread these words to other young women from Lt. Hillary Redmond and Captain Kristina Coleman, our Pilot in this weekend’s ‘Women’s History Month’ Mission at Joint Base Charleston.
Click below for an on-demand audio podcast of my on-air discussion about this very topic on News Radio 94.3 WSC!