NCANG, 145th MDG Top Three Females Lead the Way Published Jan. 15, 2014 By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran 145th Public Affairs CHARLOTTE N.C. -- Bringing in the New Year means a lot of things to a lot of folks, from making resolutions to rethinking our goals, taking on new challenges and looking for ways to grow. For members of the North Carolina Air National Guard, it is about new positions, new faces, and new opportunities that are now being seen as the 145th Airlift Wing presses forward celebrating diversity, recognizing the potential of women as they continue to take charge of key leadership positions. No greater illustration has been given then the example set forth by the North Carolina Air National Guard. For the first time in history, 145th Medical Group's top three positions have been occupied by women. Leading the way are Col. Jill Hendra, commander, Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz, Chief Enlisted Manager and Master Sgt. Maria Gupton, 1st Shirt for the 145th MDG. "We are in a time of cultural and fiscal evolution in the Armed Forces." stated Col. Jill Hendra. "Being the first female commander of the 145th Medical Group in N.C., helped to de- stigmatize "being led by a woman" but also we pulled a 'double whammy' on them by my also being a psychiatrist. I believe it was so very timely--we need to have less fear about our mental challenges and our gender challenges." Part of the exhilaration that accompanies every January 1st is the optimism that starting over is possible and the belief that new beginnings can create new and successful outcomes. Establishing and maintaining good, strong values is especially important for all young women as they aspire to rise above and overcome any obstacle in life. The Wing is consistently developing more ways to improve on its existing mentoring program. Encouragement is given and opportunities are provided in career progression, integration, networking and relationship building amongst women in the N.C. National Guard. From Diversity Council meetings to implementing educational programs, Col. Roger Williams, Jr. Commander of the 145th Airlift Wing and Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams, encourages uniformity in the work place and helps support and accelerate the development of its outstanding female professionals. As Hendra heads to Joint Forces Headquarters, North Carolina National Guard, Raleigh, N.C., to assume the position of State Air Surgeon, she leaves the command in the capable hands of Col. Thomas Douglas. With lasting impressions, the medical group moves forward with heartfelt messages. "Under the tutelage of Col. Hendra," stated 1st Shirt, Master Sgt. Maria Gupton, "I have been exposed to an abundance of new and exciting ideas and prospects that I thought were outside my realm. One of my greatest accomplishments has been the privilege of becoming the first female First Sergeant in the 145th Medical Group. She (Hendra) has encouraged me and saw something within me that told me I could go on to do bigger and better things in my Air Force career." "Being the first female CMSgt in the 145th MDG has been a wonderful experience." added CMSgt Susan Dietz, "Out of 29 Chiefs in the NCANG there are currently only two females and we truly bring a different perspective to the table." said, "Working with Col. Hendra has been a pleasure. Col. Hendra was the commander when I was promoted to Chief and it has been an interesting ride! We are going to miss her!"