Celebrating Women's History Month

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- March is Women's History month and the Dept. of Defense has dedicated the month of March to honor the contributions of women in the U.S. Armed Forces. As of 2015, women made up about 15 percent of the U.S. military. More than 165,000 women are enlisted and active in the armed services with over 35,000 additional women serving as officers.

Women have played a vital role in the military since the first female entered the Air National Guard in 1950. Women have become so engrained in the military that it's impossible to picture our military services without both genders. Initially, Air Guard Commanders were allowed to augment their medical units with female reservist who performed their services stateside. When a Guard unit was mobilized, women were returned to their respective "Reserve" organizations and the Guard's readiness for deployment became comprised. This ultimately cleared the way for women to serve directly as members of the Guard in order to maintain unit readiness.

In 2010, Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall became the first female Senior Enlisted Advisor for the National Guard Bureau. In this position her responsibilities included advising the Chief of the National Guard Bureau on all enlisted matters affecting training and utilization, health of the force, and enlisted professional development of the over 427,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in the 50 states, 3 territories and the District of Columbia. Additionally she was heavily involved in all matters that affected the families of National Guard soldiers and airmen.

I currently serve as the only female chief master sergeant assigned to the 127th Wing. In my position as the 127th Operations Group Superintendent, I advise the 127th Operations Group commander on all enlisted matters and I ensure that each enlisted member has all necessary resources and training available to them. I bring to my position over 25 years of honorable military service by performing my duties according to the Air Force's core values of Integrity first, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.

The role of women in today's military will continue to evolve as women breakdown barriers and move into positions that have historically been closed off to them. The Pentagon's recent announcement that all combat positions will be open to women will eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service. I am confident that women will continue to play a pivotal role in today's military operations.