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28th SFS female defenders observe WHM

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

The 28th Security Forces Squadron celebrated National Women’s History Month March 21, 2017, by employing a full flight of female defenders.

Every position within a typical Security Forces shift was filled by a woman in observance of Women’s History Month. For the eight-hour shift, this included everything from the desk sergeant, gate security and patrols.

“It’s important that we’re doing this, because when the Air Police and Military Police first started out, women weren’t even allowed,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Stoeger, the event coordinator and a flight chief assigned to the 28th SFS. “It wasn’t until 1961 that the first woman received the [Air Force Specialty Code], and she was the only woman to hold the AFSC for 11 years.”

Female Airmen were not officially allowed into the security career field until 1985, but have since deployed in combat-related roles and are currently training in the special forces.

“Women have been fighting for equal opportunity for decades,” said Maj. Jaime Hernandez Jr., the 28th SFS commander. “This shows what our female defenders can bring to the fight – exactly what our male defenders bring. They’re not any different, they have the same training and skillsets.”

 By recognizing Women’s History Month this way, Stoeger believes it honors the female defenders of the past.  

“It’s important that we are recognizing the sacrifices of the women who came before us,” Stoeger said. “This is a great way for us to honor what they did.”

By doing this, the 28th SFS not only honors the women who paved the way, but hopes to inspire future female leaders.

“I’m very proud of our female defenders and the entire unit,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully we can inspire young women to one day become defenders in the Air Force or police officers for their community.”