Women's History Month in Alaska

  • Published
  • By Airman Raina Dale
  • JBER Public Affairs

In June 1948, President Harry Truman signed the Women's Armed Service Integration Act which allowed women to have permanent status in the armed forces. Since then, women across all branches have made their mark in today’s military and continue to strive for a better tomorrow.

March serves as a time to honor the achievements and contributions women of all backgrounds have made throughout the history of the United States. Women play vital roles in JBER’s mission. Some are leaders, Soldiers, mentors, mothers, and above all – service members serving their country.

“This is a special time for me, because I’ve been in the military for almost 20 years now, and when I first started, it was very common to be the only woman in the platoon or company,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Knox, the battalion commander for the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Airborne), 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, “Arctic Angels.” “Now to be a female battalion commander and lead operations in the Arctic – and being able to challenge myself and see my soldiers challenge themselves – is just really special.”

When it comes to challenges, accomplishing the mission isn’t the only thing that pushes these women to their limits. Balancing a career and a family is no light task. This holds true for U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sari Taylor, the senior enlisted leader of the 673d Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agencies.

On top of her work duties and supervising Airmen, Taylor is also a mother of five – ranging from one year old to 17. As both a mother and a service member, life can be unpredictable and often challenging balancing long work days and temporary duty deployments.

“One of the most challenging things about being a mom in the military is giving my kids a predictable routine,” said Taylor. “But with each enlistment and each assignment, I make sure they're on board and still committed and want to continue on.”

While women's history of service to the country should never be overlooked, March is specifically a time to highlight women’s every-day hard work, sacrifices and accomplishments.

“Women’s History Month means we get to showcase how far we’ve come and everything we’re working to do for women in the future,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jessica Zenteno, an operating room nurse for the 673d Medical Group. “It’s important to celebrate the women who we are and the women we can be.”