KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- March is recognized across the Department of Defense as Women’s History Month, and honors the brave women who paved the way for others to serve equally alongside their brothers in arms. Read what three female Airmen at the Wolf Pack have to say about the women who shaped them and how they want to inspire others.
Tech. Sgt. Tiffany “APEX” Cunha, 8th Fighter Wing command chief executive assistant
Countless women have inspired me in my life, but to name a few: my mother, Terri Lockhart, grandmother, Joan Aubrey Rose, and the two women that work with me in the front office, Capt. Karla Savana and 1st Lt. Jana St. Germain. Each of these women has unique qualities that have helped shape me into who I am today and motivate me for tomorrow. My mother is a strong woman who has faced many challenges in her life but has never given up, even through a brutal but successful battle with cancer. My Grandma Joan is the strongest person I've ever known and has always been a role model for me. In the 1960-70s, she worked as a Boeing engineer and built airliners as the sole provider for her three children.
Capt. Savana and 1st Lt. St. Germain are a power duo and both incredible role models for women everywhere. Capt. Savana is a remarkable mother to two boys. Even though being apart from her family is unbelievably difficult, she dominates as the director of staff (an extremely task-saturated position) and still has time to ensure her team is mentally and physically well. Lastly, 1st Lt. St. Germain is an absolute powerhouse in the gym, at work and in school. She has already accomplished a master's degree and is still motivated to pursue a doctorate degree, all while keeping the head of the triad (Col. Henry “Wolf” Jeffress, 8 FW commander) on track. They both are powerful women who have achieved so much in their lives yet remain humble and down-to-earth. Each of these women has inspired me in different ways, but they all share one common trait - they are all strong and resilient.
I would love to inspire other women around me by being an example of strength and resilience. I want them to see that no matter what life throws at them, they can always get back up and keep moving forward and that they can be successful in anything they put their mind to. I'd also like to show that they should be confident in themselves and not let anyone bring them down. Wolf Chief (CMSgt. Carlos Damian, 8 FW command chief) writes an inspirational or motivational quote every week or so. One week it said, "be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." So, remember ladies, you have survived this far. You are capable and competent, and you have proven it time and again.
Airman 1st Class Katelyn Chavez, 8th Maintenance Squadron weapons load team member
I have always enjoyed seeing women prosper in their desires and achieve their goals. In my life, I owe my upbringing to the women in my family. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child and mine was my abuela, tias and mom. My abuela came to the U.S. from Honduras and I was raised by my mother. Their resilience and strength inspired me to expand my academic knowledge and my hands-on capabilities. My family's journey inspires me every day.
Femininity is a beautiful attribute to embrace. It is an empowering tool to pair with being assertive. One does not need to be compromised in the workplace or society. I would like to inspire women around me to utilize their space and to not downplay themselves for social standards.
Senior Airman Alijiah Bonano, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron mission generation vehicular equipment maintenance technician
When I think of a woman in my life who inspires me, it's my mom. She’s very independent and I get that from her. She doesn't want help from anybody; she wants to do everything by herself. When I get a vehicle, instead of asking for help, I figure it out. She gave me that viewpoint of willpower to push through. You’re going to get things you’ve never touched in your life and you’re going to have to troubleshoot. You’re only going to learn by doing it. The more challenges I get, the more I have an opportunity to refine and perfect my skills.
I want to inspire other women by telling them to be independent and focused on personal discipline. It’s nice to prove to the world that we can accomplish everything we set out to do. I know not every woman wants to be independent, but I think for women in the Air Force, it’s very vital. If you can demonstrate discipline and independence in your career field and elevate your craft, you’re only setting the next generation of women in the military up for success when they go through what you went through.