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Black-Campion enlisted in the Colorado Army National Guard in 2019 and qualified to become a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program as a wrestler. She represented the U.S. team in the Tour de Spain, Pan American Championships and the 2021 World Championships. In 2022, she gave birth to a daughter and now focuses on recruiting for the Iowa Army National Guard and spending time with her family. "Women’s History Month is a time to recognize women for their contributions. It’s extremely important because there are women across the U.S. in all occupations out there doing amazing things, and they should be honored for the things they do.”
Chatman, a signal officer, has served 10 years this month — including a 2020 deployment for Operation Spartan Shield. "As a young officer, being acknowledged for this month, I am honored that my hard work is seen by others. I devote a lot of time and effort to the Louisiana Army National Guard, and it means the world to me that it hasn’t gone unnoticed."
Collins, the commander of a medical detachment unit, has served for almost 25 years. This month's observance "has helped me to reflect on how far forward women have progressed in the workplace. It's definitely been a game-changer. We, as women, still have barriers to face."
Cruz, a petroleum supply specialist, joined the Guard more than 10 years ago because she was not "being pushed to my full potential." A highlight of her service was helping her community following a hurricane. "This observance means to me that I am able to exercise my skills and not be judged because of my gender. I am considered equal to my male peers and respected as such. It demonstrates the great strides made throughout history to afford women the same opportunities as men and showcase how amazing we are within our own right."
DeMartino has served in the Guard for eight years. She is training for a body building competition and loves riding motorcycles. Asked what this month's observance means to her, she said: "I served our country, the greatest thing a person can do in life. I have friends that will forever go down in history as serving together, understanding one another, being there for one another."
Gray, a C-17 crew chief, joined the Guard in 2017. "I was always inspired by military women while I was growing up, so it is an honor for me to get the chance to serve among so many outstanding women, both past and current. I strive to motivate other women to pursue their professional goals with courage and confidence."
Harrell has served 21 years, including a 2018-19 deployment to Kuwait for Operation Freedom Sentinel. "Women’s Heritage Month means celebrating the lengths women have come in equality. Twenty-one years ago when I joined, especially in aircraft maintenance, the landscape looked quite different than it does today. Women have been at the forefront of making history and have been enabled to do anything our male counterparts can do. We still have some work to do, but it is incredible what has happened in just the last 20-30 years."
Johnson joined the Guard in 2006 and loves being a part of humanitarian and overseas missions. "Many civilians don’t know some women stories and what we do in the Air force. Many factors have changed significantly over the years on how and where we serve. Hopefully, these changes encourage more women to bring their skills to the force, so they, too, can be part of a changing AGILE Air Force."
Livingston joined the Guard in 2018 for the college benefits and "to push myself out of my comfort zone." She has completed seven military courses and a personal training certification and started a business while attending college full time. "This observance is very humbling. It reminds me that even when I feel like I’m not doing enough or that I could be doing better, someone believes I’m excelling. I’m very thankful to be spotlighted for Women’s History Month because the celebration of women’s excellence is monumental, especially with this holiday being established less than 50 years ago and me being less than half those years in age."`
López joined the Guard in 2021. One highlight of her service was documenting the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona and the Guard's response. "Women have excelled in many intellectual, professional and personal aspects. Becoming a military woman requires leaving your family , social life and culture. It makes me feel honored that we are recognized for our commitment and responsibility in the line of duty, in a special way."
Lutz has served since 1998, including a State Partnership Program visit to Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia. "Women’s History Month is about celebrating the women who have paved the way for women like me and my daughter to have the options that previous generations didn’t have. Whether it’s Elizabeth Blackwell, Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, or basic women’s rights, it’s about learning their stories and how they overcame adversity. It’s about discovering what kind of women they were and how our world would be a very different place if it had not been for them and their hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It reminds me to appreciate what they went through."
Mackay enlisted in the Air Guard in 2014 as a senior in high school, following her father and grandfathers into the miitary. Her favorite part of serving is working with "professional, selfless, adaptable Airmen" who rescued more than 800 Afghan refugees and assisted after Hurricane Harvey. "In 2022, about one in every six service members was a woman. This observance allows women across the branches to share their stories, showcase their contributions to the total force and provides an opportunity to inspire women across the nation that they too can be a part of the sisters that serve."
Mariette, a photojournalist, joined the Guard in 2013. She says military service has "become a fulfilling career field that keeps me learning, growing and traveling," including helicopter missions in Iraq and State Partnership Program events in Croatia. "Women’s History Month is a time for all of us, both men and women, to reflect on our shared history. We can celebrate the good, learn from the bad, be grateful for the advancements women have made and evaluate what we can do to be better to support each other in the future."
McCutcheon was 17 when she joined the Guard in 2007. She says a highlight of her service came in 2011 when she assisted with the response to severe flooding in Nebraska. "Not only men but women’s achievements, strength and love have helped build America. Some women have truly earned the respect of this nation and I thank them for paving the way for other women."
Mills, an aircraft loadmaster, says joining the Guard in 2018 was the best decision of her life. "I appreciate Women's History Month because it’s a time to look back and reflect on the women of the past who have paved the way for me to do the things I’m passionate about. There aren’t a lot of women in the military and especially in the aviation career field, but figures like Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson, Bessie Coleman and Sabiha Gökçen remind me that the sky isn’t the limit when pursuing your passions."
Montero-Figueroa, a paralegal noncommissioned officer, joined the Guard in 2018. "To me this observance is a celebration and a reminder of the participation and contribution made by women in the armed forces. It is the recognition of the women who continue to perform and contribute to the past and current missions in the military breaking gender barriers within Army ranks."
Ohrt has served for 16 years this month, including a 2021-22 deployment to Kuwait. "For me this month is about truly paying respects to all women who have taken a chance or risked their life to impact their fellow women. There have been so many great women throughout history that have made their impact and changed the way women are viewed around the world. Because of those women I can serve."
Parks is an intelligence analyst who joined the Army Guard in 2010 and transferred to the Air Guard in 2022. "Women’s History month gives us a time and means to reflect on the progress and evolution of the United States military since inception. When my grandfather joined the military, I would have not been allowed to serve. It wasn’t until the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 that women were allowed in all branches, and I will be forever grateful to those first brave women who raised their right hands and forged the path that allowed me to be here today."
Peña has served for 11 years, supporting the COVID-19 response for one year. "This observance highlights the outstanding achievements of brave and spectacular women worldwide, which have created opportunities for me and many others. I appreciate the opportunity to express how proud I am, as a woman, to be a leader in the National Guard, and I hope other amazing women in this organization as well as I can also inspire current and future generations to strive with courage, grace and passion in all endeavors they may take."
Since joining the Guard in 2015, Penabler's favorite moments have been spent overseas. "Experiences on deployments are always unique because you build families quickly with people you may have never met prior to mobilization." Penabler says this month's observance "makes me feel proud to know that women are appreciated and included in every facet of the military today. It allows us all to see how far we’ve come and the difference we’ve made in this organization."
Phillips, an intelligence analyst, grew up in Alaska and joined the Guard in 2021. "I am grateful to be a part of honoring women worldwide who have pushed past gender norms to chase after their dreams. It’s empowering to have a voice in a male-dominant field where I can make a difference."
Sanchez, a flight surgeon, joined the Air Guard in 2011. She deployed to Turkey in 2016 and has traveled to Guatemala for several State Partnership Program missions, working in temporary clinics to serve those with limited access to medical care. She considers Women's History Month "an opportunity to learn more about and be inspired by the contributions of women."
Vázquez joined the Guard in 1996 after Army active duty. A high school teacher, she has been involved in State Partnership Program briefings with the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Costa Rica. Vázquez says Women's History Month "is a meaningful recognition of the contribution of the female workforce."