By L. Cunningham, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 05, 2021
Senior Airman Victoria Evans, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, marshals an RC-135 Rivet Joint March 1, 2021 at the Lincoln, Nebraska airport. Evans took part in an all-female flight to commemorate Women’s History Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by David Farley)
An all- female air crew and support staff pose for a group photo in front of an RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft March 1, 2021 at the Lincoln, Nebraska airport to commemorate Women’s History Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by David Farley)
Staff Sgt. Kathryn Malone, 55th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Sienna, a MWD, stand at attention June 5, 2020 at the 55th SFS dog kennels, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, as a retirement ceremony for Sienna commences. (U.S. Air Force photo by L. Cunningham)
Senior Master Sgt. Sharika Ceasor, 55th Wing Command Post superintendent, speaks to Airmen Leadership School graduates at the McCoy Airman Leadership School Sept. 19, 2019 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by L. Cunningham)
March is designated as Women’s History Month. It is a time to recognize the struggles and hardships of the past as well as the contributions and accomplishments women have made as they continue to look for a better tomorrow.
Historically, women were not always provided the same opportunities as men in the United States military, mostly serving in the nursing corps or in other support roles. As women’s rights improved, they were eventually allowed to serve in non-combat roles. In 2013, some combat roles were also opened up for women.
Women in the Air Force today now hold a wide variety of jobs; they are security forces dog handlers, aircraft maintainers, vocalists, military honor guard members, pilots and navigators. They also hold leadership roles as first sergeants, superintendents, command chiefs and commanders.
“There has been significant progress, and although we have not crossed the finish line of normalization, I am confident we are headed in the right direction because both women and men are sitting at the table making the decisions,” said Senior Master Sgt. Sharika Ceasor, 55th Wing Command Post superintendent. “There has been an emphasis on listening to the individuals in ‘the arena’ so I’m looking forward to what awaits us on the horizon.”
In both civilian and military professions, women continue to make strides in achieving the highest leadership roles, setting examples for future generations.
In January, Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office for the second highest office in this country, a position previously only held by men. This was a welcoming sign for many who see this as a step in the right direction.
“I have always had the perspective that talent, competence, and work ethic has no gender,” Ceasor said. “So seeing the limited positions of power held by women in the history of our government has always been discouraging. But having a female as vice president shattered some of my internal barriers induced by society - it was emotional and empowering.”
Offutt has also seen women recently promoted to the highest leadership positions. In 2017, Col. Sherri LeVan became the first woman vice commander of the Wing. In June of this year, Col. Kristen Thompson is scheduled to become the first female commander of the 55th Wing.
To celebrate the accomplishments of these women and those who came before, Offutt is planning to hold events throughout the month of March.
The month kicked off with a commemorative flight March 1 from the Lincoln, Nebraska airport that included a maintenance ground crew, security forces detail and aircrew made up entirely of women. Those who participated said it was an honor to take part in such an event.
“I look back and I am standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Capt. Amy Boelter, 38th Reconnaissance Squadron tactical coordinator. “There are so many females who have enabled me to be here. Women’s history month is important to honor the females that have come before us and made these great contributions.”
As part of the month’s planned events, videos will be posted on Offutt social media sites highlighting women in history and Team Offutt women.
Additionally, virtual leadership panels are scheduled for March 26 via Microsoft Teams that include: