A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing, 194th Fighter Squadron, Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, takes off from Starokostiantyniv Air Base, Ukraine, Oct. 9 as part of the Clear Sky 2018 exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard/Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn)
For Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pineda, a 15-year veteran of the California Air National Guard, the military was a family calling. She followed her older sister and brother-in-law into the guard, where she now holds an administrative position at the elite 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno.
On a March morning four years ago, Pineda was about to dress into a uniform she had stored overnight in a stall in the women's bathroom when she made a foul discovery.
Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 330th MP Company, California National Guard, patrol along side a group of school children during a dismounted patrol through the city of Khost in the Khost province of Afghanistan. (California National Guard/Spc. Joseph Samudio)
One of the highest-ranking officers in the California National Guard told lawmakers on Tuesday that the state is not removing transgender soldiers and airmen from its ranks despite efforts by the Trump administration to bar transgender people from the U.S. military.
"As long as you fight, we don't care what gender you identify as," said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, the assistant adjutant general for the California National Guard.