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A Day With Women: Celebrating Womens History Month in 2017

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  • By Staff Sgt. Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs
What started as a national celebration in 1980 when Congress authorized President Jimmy Carter to proclaim March 2 through 8, as Women’s History Week, five years later it turned into a month-long celebration. This allowed us the opportunity to honor the hard work and contributions made by women serving in our military, both past and present.

Times have changed since the 1950s, and so have the roles and responsibilities for women in the military. From answering phone calls, record up-keep, and providing minor health care to maintaining multi-million-dollar aircraft, leading troops on battlefields and serving in higher leadership positions.

“Like many officers in the Air National Guard, I'm proud I started out as an Airman and an apprentice. I lived in the maintenance dorms and worked among crew chiefs and fellow aircraft specialists on active duty as a teenager and into my early 20s. It's surreal that 25 years later I'm an Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, and the first female in that role here at the North Carolina Air National Guard. It hasn't always been easy but certainly worth all the effort,” said Lt. Col. Karen Shook, commander of the 145th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Women of the 145th Airlift Wing see themselves as being part of a Total Force, leading and working to improve the quality of life for all Airmen. Being a good wingman is not about gender, it is about leadership and taking care of your people.

“When people see me, I would hope that they don’t just see a woman, but a member of a unit. The key word unit…one that can perform individually as well as a part of a larger or more complex whole. My work should speak for itself and be recognized as such…not because I’m male or female,” stated Senior Master Sgt. Martha Roman, command section superintendent for the 145th Airlift Wing.

Roman has been a part of the unit for over four years; in that time she gained many female mentors that helped guide her through her successful career.

“Major Lisa Dodge is a huge mentor to me. She is a woman of results, extremely organized, well spoken, and educated, but most important to me is the fact that she is dedicated to the person, the human being,” said Roman.

Roman also said, “Regardless of rank, she will show up for you every time, and it comes from the heart because she never boasts about it. Another mentor of mine is 1st Lt. Joyce Quick. She proves to me day in and day out that regardless of what anyone may or may not say, stay focused on your goals and don’t let anyone deter you from it. Senior Master Sgt. LaTonya McPhail embodies hard work, honesty and a great listening ear…I trust all these women with my life. They’re selfless and amazing,” said Roman.

Daily, women of the North Carolina Air National Guard provide intelligence, keep skies safe as air traffic controllers, serve as defenders within security forces and are first responders in cases of emergencies or natural disasters; serving and representing as wingmen, leaders, and warriors.