Nellis Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Women conquer heights and fights
 
Photos
Previous ImageNext Image
The Women of JOAX
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christine Phillips, 820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers Airborne from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., has her parachute harness tightened during a T-11 parachute training class Feb. 21, 2013, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The T-11 parachute is a bigger parachute than the 820th RED HORSE Airmen are used to using. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hughes)
Download HiRes
Women who aren't afraid of heights or fights

Posted 3/6/2013   Updated 3/6/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Daniel Hughes
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


3/6/2013 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- With women now allowed to pursue combat related career fields, the first notion is that women have not participated in combat related duties whatsoever. But in reality this isn't the first time women have been put in the line of fire.

During an airborne training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., female airborne engineers are taking part in combat training parachute jumps that simulate the seizure of a foreign runway. One of the roles is RED HORSE Airborne

Expectations for male and female airborne members are set to an equal standard.

"In my eyes, no, I'm not treated any better or worse than any Soldier in the company," said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Bianka Lathan, 161st Engineer Support Company. "I have just always been expected to perform as the same as my [male] counterparts."

The strength and endurance it takes to be a part of an airborne unit isn't a walk in the park for anyone. Physically demanding tasks such as carrying heavy packs, weapons and rucking after landing from a parachute jump are tasks airborne engineers must be able to complete whether they are male or female.

"For sure women need to be held to the same physical standards as men, in case we have to pull one of them or carry the same equipment," said Staff Sgt. Christine Phillips, 820th RED HORSE engineer craftsman. "I am able to run just like they run, I can ruck just as long as they can, I don't hold them up."

Not only do these women carry the weight of work and family, they also deal with the pressure and expectations they place on themselves.

"Being the first female, 1st Sgt. for the 161st Engineer Support Company, I want to ensure I do everything I'm supposed to do at a high level so there isn't any doubt," Lathan said, "Recently, at Jump Master School, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I completed the school on my first time, but it was really just me putting [the pressure] on myself."

With the ban of women in combat lifted, women will now be able to pursue the same combat career paths as men in the military.

"It is a great opportunity; I feel there are many strong women who can perform at any level," Phillips said.

"I have been in for 19 years and [have] seen the changes for women's equality and I feel this opportunity is something women have been fighting for a very long time to be able to do," said Lathan.

"Having women in airborne units might not be smooth all the time, but being given the same opportunity as a man has given hardworking women the chance to prove to themselves and others that they can reach and achieve the same goals as their male counterpart," Phillips said.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Nellis AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabFeatured Links
Newcomer's Information
Phone List & Hours
Exercises & Flight Operations
Sports and Fitness
Retiree Activities Office
Thunderbirds
Creech Air Force Base
Civil Air Patrol Nellis Squadron
SARC
Mike O'Callaghan Federal Medical Center
Career Assistance Advisor
Bounce Resiliency Website
Force Management
Airmen Powered by Innovation
tabMore Nellis Links
tabOther Links

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act