Red Devils honor Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley Perdue
  • 6 Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

To close out Women’s History Month, the 50th Air Refueling Squadron joined other flying crews throughout the Department of Defense in honoring all women who have served, past, present and future, by conducting and participating in an all-female flight.

Four 50th ARS boom operators and pilots flew an air refueling training mission with an all-female C-17 Globemaster III crew from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, that took place over the Carolinas, Mar. 30, 2021.

“The opportunity that we have to actually get an all-female crew together is pretty rare and phenomenal,” said Capt. Bianca Santos, a 50th ARS KC-135 pilot. “We fly all-female crews probably once or twice a year, otherwise, it’s almost always a mixed crew.”

Even though all-female flights are becoming more common as females continue breaking through barriers, and to this day, according to the 50th ARS commander, only about five percent of women make up the U.S. Air Force pilot population.

“To me, the dynamic doesn’t change much between a mixed crew versus an all-female crew,” Santos added. “Whenever we have an agenda, it’s just us trying to accomplish the mission but being on an all-female flight feels a bit more special.”

DoD-wide and even worldwide, women’s history is celebrated vibrantly and in all different ways. The common theme that stands is this: it is up to women today to show younger girls that no matter what their dreams are and no matter who tells them no, they have to believe in themselves and never give up because they can and they will succeed.

“I would like to encourage motivation to achieve your goals,” said Senior Airman Kylie Strawser, a 50th ARS boom operator. “Just as I tell my two little girl cousins, ‘you can accomplish anything you want as long as you work for it. You may or may not encounter obstacles because of your gender, just know, you can do anything you set your mind to and I believe in you!’”

Within the U.S. Air Force, Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the impact women have made and continue to make as they break through new barriers and pave the way for the next generation.