The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.
"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.
So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.
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.
Equality for women in the workplace comes up all the time in the media, in casual conversation, in sports, and even in political debate. It’s an unavoidable topic in the early 21st century. Not just wages, either, as it turns out even today women get pushed into staff jobs, and many evaluations are biased against them. The military is similar. Women are often told, “You can’t go to that assignment because you wouldn’t be able to shower,” or “It’s too dangerous for a female,” or “You can’t lift/hit/run/jump/lead that, women just aren’t ‘designed’ that way,” or a host of other excuses we are told are in our best interests.
Today, 10% of the veterans population comprises women; we have been around since the American Revolution. So, why does the notion of “women veterans” seem foreign to most people? Why are women veterans treated differently?