Utah ANG commemorates Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lillian Harnden
  • 151 ARW/PA
Utah ANG commemorates Women's History Month

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Air National Guard commemorated Women's History Month on base, March 3.

The event included speeches by the Assistant Adjutant General of the Utah ANG, Brig. Gen. David R. Fountain, the Chief of Staff for Utah Joint Force Headquarters Air, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Gammon, and a presentation by the Vice Wing Commander of the 151st Air Refueling Wing, Col. Christine Burckle.

"Women's History Month is a time to celebrate and honor the contribution, sacrifices and accomplishments of women who not only shaped our military, but America as well," said Gammon. "Across many years of cultures, women have fought to be educated, empowered, and treated as equal to their male counterparts."

In Burckle's presentation, she highlighted women's roles throughout military history and offered advice to women who currently serve.

"I believe that those who aspire to achieve higher levels of leadership should do the best possible job in the assignment they are given, prepare themselves mentally, physically and emotionally, accomplish the mission, take care of Airmen, and lastly, mentor and be mentored," said Burckle.

Burckle showcased a recent study done on U.S. Army Women General Officers and "Their Strategies for Ascension." The study revealed seven overarching themes consistently mentioned during the interviews by the study participants (who were all female Army General Officers).

Those themes were:
professional competency and doing a good job
interpersonal skills: including good communication and taking care of people
being known by your good reputation
taking on and doing well in tough jobs like command
luck and/or timing
not aspiring to make General Officer
"Doing most or all of these things will surely provide a great strategic roadmap toward advancement for senior leaders in the military, no matter what gender," said Burckle.

Burckle then mentioned that mentoring might be the most important of the seven themes.
"Many of these women believed that because of their mentoring relationships, they were more likely to take on tough assignments, or assignments they had not considered, and these assignments played a major role in their career ascension," said Burckle.

Currently, 169 female enlisted Airmen and 29 female officer Airmen serve in the UTANG. Burckle concluded her speech by acknowledging their contributions and role in strengthening the Utah ANG.

The event also highlighted advice from five other senior officers and enlisted women who worked their way to the top of the ranks within the Utah ANG.

"My advice starts with quality training," said Lt. Col. Julie Anderson, a Military Personnel Officer with Headquarters Utah ANG. "Become as knowledgeable as possible in your career field. Don't be lazy and rely on others to know what you should know. Constantly learn about your job."

"Always be ready for the next promotion or position," advised Lt. Col. Linda Robles, the 151st Comptroller Flight Commander. "I can give numerous examples where I was promoted or given a job, because I was ready and prepared and have done all the necessary requirements to be considered for that position."

"It really helps if you enjoy the work you do," offered Senior Master Sgt. Patti Cook, the Aerospace Maintenance Superintendent. "Make sure that you are in a job that you love to do and that you respond to others how you would like to be treated."

"Keep your eyes and ears open, not necessarily for advancement, but for CHANGE in your career," recommended Master Sgt. Joan Cornell. "Do not allow yourself to become stagnant in your position, and thus become bored or restless, as well as ineffective."

"It is important to find your individual strengths and further develop them, as well as to continually, candidly identify your weak points and learn to improve them," suggested Master Sgt. Vallaree McArthur, the First Sergeant for the 151st Maintenance Group.

Over 50 Guard members attended the event. Senior Master Sgt. Burke Baker, the Human Resource Advisor for the 151st Air Refueling Wing, who helped to organize the event, cited that he chose to focus on Women's History Month since women comprise the largest minority within the Utah ANG.

"I was extremely pleased with the turnout we had this morning and look forward to future observances that highlight the diversity of our unit members," said Baker. "This was an outstanding event to celebrate the diversity of our unit members and to observe the significant contributions of women to our country, our Air National Guard, and specifically this organization."