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Hi and welcome to connections I'm a bit doors have opened a little wider for women who want to join the military. On this edition of connections We'll talk to women in several branches of the military to see why they chose this path. And how they see their future. In 1970 only about 1.4 percent of our military service people were women. In 2010 women comprise more than 15 percent of our military force. They are in all branches of the military the Army and Army Reserve have the largest number of women while the Air Force and he's at it have the highest percentage of women. Women were allowed to join the military professional in 1948 with the women's armed services integration and military has changed a lot since then. Today women can aspire to just about any military position except some combat positions including serving on naval combat vessels.
Staff Sergeant Tiffany Martin is continuing her education at the Citadel the coed Military College in Charleston. And Sergeant thank you so much for being with us today. Thank you. Let's clarify. You are a Marine. I am an active duty enlisted Marine Yes I am. And I have to ask you this with what we always hear about this really tough basic training that you have to go through as moving for women and men is the training the Sinai. It is absolutely the same yes. Explain. What are some of things you have to go through for basic training for recruits. We go through basic tactical training will go on hikes will carry a pack we're taught to drill we're taught to March we're taught exactly how to address enlisted personnel and officers it's somewhat of a job you know learn all the different rank structures that were taught about the other branches of service because we work so closely with the Navy as well. So there's some education there's a lot of physical training requirements. It's rigorous. Right. It goes by fast.
But how long is it actually how many weeks 13 weeks 13 weeks. Yes ma'am. Did you ever second guess yourself about being in the Marines during that time. I would have to say no. Really. Yeah. What brought you to Why did you decide you wanted to be a Marine. I can't say it was a family history because I'm the first but I can say there's something distinctive about the reputation the acceptance of no mistakes. There's not an option to be anything less than the absolute best and it fits a lot with the kind of principles that I was raised with to do everything that you can to be the absolute best at whatever it is that you do. So in the Marines though I mean you talking about being around a lot of guys have you had any difficulties with that. I would have to say no no because there's such a common ground in being a Marine. You don't necessarily think of male Marine or female Marine before you think of just the Marines comrades in
arms counterparts coworkers so to speak so there's not a lot of attention paid to whether you're a male or female and there's not a lot of. Issues you would think that would come associated with that sort of thing. So now you've been in the Marines how long. Eight years. Eight years. Yes ma'am. And so you are now on track to working toward becoming an officer. Explain to me why you want to make that transition from an enlisted Marine to an officer. I was approached with the opportunity as what we call a troop when I was maybe two three years into the Marine Corps and I didn't understand what was being offered to me at the time so I didn't take advantage of it. And I'd have to say that that was probably for the best. I think that now that I've had some time to be around Marines and understand the responsibilities that come along with taking care of the Marines which is your primary job the more rank that you receive the more that you're responsible for making sure that Marines are taken care of and I think that once you get to a certain point
in your career you begin to realize that. It's more of a responsibility if you're an officer you become a servant leader is what we call it that you're willing to shake off your own benefits you're willing to think of yourself last to do whatever it is in your power that's possible to take care of your Marines and it's a sacrifice I realized I was very much willing to make. Now as an enlisted Marine initially what was your job. I was I was an air conditioning mechanic. OK it was probably the absolute last thing I ever saw myself doing for a job but yes I'm in an air conditioning mechanic by trade. And so what do you want to do will that change once you become an officer. I believe it well. It's a very difficult process to assign a job to a Marine. From our perspective we ask for what we want and we take willingly whatever we're given. Whether it was what we wanted or not and I were quest to become a logistics officer because it would keep me in the community that I came up
in with mechanics and combat engineers and things of that nature. So all requests to stay in my field but I'll take whatever I'm given. So now we always think of though as fighting guys and and ladies now too is that is that is combat something that you even think you might be a part of at some point. It's something that I'm willing to be a part of. I am very much dedicated to taking care of the Marine to my life to my right and that's our primary duty. It's what we train for our entire career from the time that we go to recruit training. And it's definitely a possibility. When we joined we entertain the thought that we will have to be involved in combat so I am more than willing if I receive those orders to carry them out. How did you talk to other young women about be especially if you know what you say you know I'm interested in military but I hate the Marines it just that scares me.
How did you talk with her about becoming a Marine. I would have to use myself as an example. I am not what I would have considered a Marine material kind of girl. I love pink. I'm definitely not what I would consider this rough tough tomboy image that I thought went with being a Marine per se but I would save it. I just went for it. I figured if I didn't succeed I'd be right back where I started anyway and I wouldn't of lost anything. And it turns out I'm very much suited to it. I love what I do and it really just requires a degree of passion and faith that I think most of us possess. Have you found yourself all over the country a different possible world you know where you are in life. I've been to Okinawa for a total of about five years and it's a beautiful island in Japan. I've been to Thailand I've been to the Philippines and I've actually been on a cruise ship that we used to transport
military in the Pacific which I thought was odd. I've been to Hawaii a few times and I've been in the south a little bit more than I thought I ever would. Being a New Yorker born and bred but I've been around a little bit I've actually I had a son in Japan so I now have a child who speaks a few languages interesting. Yes. And so now being at the Citadel What is it like for you. It is everything I thought it would be. It's regimented. There are eager young people there who have every possibility open to them and they work very hard at learning about the people that are around and the opportunities that they have and they're focused and diligent and it's a great opportunity to mentor to young people. So do you really see the Marines as being the elite of military service.
I have to say I have to say yes to that. I think that we work exceptionally well as a team and we work with great skill as individuals. And I think that that is what has earned us the elite reputation that we have. You don't see the restrictions or do you see any restrictions for women in the ring. Absolutely not. The only restrictions for women in the Marine Corps other restrictions that they may put on themselves every opportunity that's open to our male counterparts is open to us. Well I tell you what you walk you are the poster what we really are who really appreciate your being on the show with us today we learned a lot. Thank you thank. You. What motivates a woman to want to join the military as a recruiter. Sergeant
Holly Howard hears the reasons often. The education piece being able to further your education and job you know because it's a guaranteed job you know at least for three to four years you want to have a job that you've been trained. And and especially I would go into the medical field to get certified to be a nurse you know. And they pay for all your training so whether U.S. school for two weeks the only pays for the training so the job guarantee job is a lot of people who comment on the men and women they can listen to any feel certain females cannot enlisting the training
infantry. Those types because they are combat related and molasses but they can enlisting him aware that we have except for the combat related name is strictly for male soldiers only. When I came in it was just strictly females training together now is male or female that train together which makes sense because you're going to graduate you're going to be working with me and so it kind of makes sense to train with a person when we work away all the time personally working with and I decide to go active duty. I've been there I've been I had to work in basic training and you'll be surprised a lot of the women do a lot better than I mean because they know it's a challenge so they prepare for the challenge and here my office on a weekly basis. We do training the people come all I would say come off the street because some people if they know to come into the military they start working out before handsome women I would say. And like for
me I can do one push up so quickly we do some physical training to give them an idea what place the training is why. With them know up front that they are if they are. Grossly overweight then they are disqualified. But if. They are within standards because we do do by Fred Meijer methods man band we encourage them and we monitor them while they are in the program. If they enlisted to be army they have to maintain that same height and weight standard. We also give them lines on to maintaining Army standards because if they do not maintain Army standards they cannot go to basic training while active duty. They could be discharged for being overweight. So we do get the ones who are overweight produced even the ones who are overweight. They are within the standards. So it's not like they have to go home and lose 20
25 pounds to listen to the army. If you sign a contract three or four years. Education when your fundamentals which I encourage all of them to if you do a three year in the army with an associate's degree because of your military training counts toward college credit. And then also we have a humongous number of schools that you connect for free you know 100 percent to health care. It's a 100 percent free. You know if anything is wrong with you you know you can go see the position for it. So it just feels for the young lady. A recent ceremony finally recognize the contributions of women in the Air Force over 40 years ago. A long overdue tribute to the sacrifices those women made during wartime. Things are different today. Chief Master Sergeant Shelley Bowen's and First Lieutenant Ashley Everett are members of today's Air Force Ladies thank you so much for
being with us today. Thank you. We appreciate your time. You know I said I was going to ask the first silly question so you are going to laugh at me. To be in the Air Force Do you have to know how to fly. Absolutely not. You know I probably would have joy. Explain to me because we're talking about women in the military today. Why did you decide to join the Air Force. Well I was in high school and military at that time was was my only option for college. So I knew I wanted to go in the military and be in an Army ROTC for four years and knew I didn't want to join the army. OK I had a taste of it already. And then the Air Force recruiter showed a female and I saw what I could look like and I said so now Master Sergeant Is that right. Master Chief Master Sergeant Yes. Oh OK. So as a chief master sergeant does that open up several career options for you or. What explain it to me.
The big jobs there the chief can hold can be any There's there is no job there that she cannot perform and particularly a female so they're all open and so for those that's not available forth like the Special Ops the the those type of career food they're not allowed to go into it is that specifically combat Yes combat related yes. OK and again give me your rank again. So what that I don't mess it up. Sure I'm a first lieutenant a first lieutenant and assault first lieutenant average. Explain to me what that rank really means. My rank is a junior officer rank. It's a 0 or 0 2 and pretty much I am a junior officer and so what kind of training did you have to go through to get to where you was OK to become an officer. I had to join an Air Force ROTC in college which I did at fable State University and complete the ROTC program.
I had to pass the physical training test. I also had to attend. Combat officer basic course it's a field training course we have to do in the summer but I also had to pass the airforce physical as well as the Air Force officer qualifying exam. So all of those different variables equal me becoming an officer in the Air Force. So how long have you been in the Air Force. I've been in the Air Force for about two and a half years now. Do you plan to make this a career for yourself I mean do used to play the standard 20 30 years of what I'm about 30 years but I do plans on making it a career. As of right now yes. And so what exactly is your job. I'm a logistics readiness officer in the Air Force. We take care of everything logistics related anything from transportation to supply deployments contingency operations. It's a very wide and vast career field but right now I'm at the installation deployment officer for Shar for space. So Chief Master Sergeant. Yes.
What exactly is your job my job as a squadron superintended as a Chief Master Sergeant I am an advisor to be commander in charge of the unit and I'm also the senior enlisted leaders so I handle them all the enlisted issues as well. So I'm out with you as a lieutenant officer who's out in it. Yeah they're kind of synonymous OK as an officer. Are there differences in your tracks. The two of you as a as a chief master sergeant and as a lieutenant. Yes it is I you know as far as her comment also I came in in their state which I go to basic training that Lachlan. Then we go to school for your career field and I'm in communications and then you go to your first duty station. As far as the Reich is concerned there's where you want to is the ranks and I'm at the 9 level so I started off as E3 and between promotion testing for your next rank and get an education then you move up to the higher ranks that's high works on the list aside.
She said that she's at the height of her game right now. Yes and I'm kind of the beginning of the officer ranks and she's at that pretty much the end of the enlisted ranks. So how long have you been in the air for a been 21 years 21 years. Yes well so this is my career. So how much longer do you plan on staying in I can go to 30 of Iowa like. Well right now I'm looking at another four years another four years. So what have the Air Force been good to you so far so good I can't complain because a lot of people would wonder about the the regimentation the training have the fact that you may have to move around the country. Tell me about how it has been for you going into years you say. Yes ma'am. Two and a half years into Europe as a military brat so it's pretty much all I know. Do you see yourself moving around the country maybe even around the world in your job. Oh yes most definitely. In the two and a half years I've been in I've been of course across different states in United States for training to be wise also already been to Afghanistan and back. So oh yes most definitely.
What about you. Chief Master Sergeant Have you been out of the country Oh yes I have been in the states more and more so I did do a couple tours in Germany and I bought my German Karisma steaks and I have been deployed also. So when you've been deployed to Germany to Iraq and Afghanistan. Well so when you say deployed does that mean you go you're going to a fighting side or combat zone. Yeah OK. OK explain this to because I'm here. How would you talk to young women about a life in the military how do you know if it's for you. You grew up in the military. So you just kind of fell into it naturally I would say so. It just felt natural for me to join. Also when I was in college I was at the right place at the right time. The opportunity presented itself and I thought hey let's just give it a shot. You know it's totally different being the active duty member vs. the the pendent. So I said I just give it a shot and see how it works out and
what's you know dedicating four years of your life which is the initial commitment to serving your country and to see how it works out for you. What is the most difficult thing you think master's Chief Master Sergeant for a woman in the military my personal experience is balancing being a woman in the military or being a wife being a mother. That is that is quite a challenge because I'm all doing OK. And so which proved to be the most difficult for you the mob. Did you find that you were often times away from your children or do they travel with you. They travel with me for the most part for the locations that they go to. It was mainly as coming back home and getting back in the region of being a mom and taking my hat off from the military side when I walked through the door realising they also have to do things and try to balance that going to the PTA meetings going to sports and all that other stuff and me it's it
is a challenge but I knew going in that I have to you know share myself with my family and my career and I'm fortunate I've been able to do all three. Now is it a 9:00 to 5:00 job. There's never a 9:00 to 5:00 you know call 24/7 if you're on call 24/7. Yes. And so do both of you live. I don't know if they're military housing or there is but I I live off base and I live off base as well. OK and so you were at home someone called you you have to go you have to go. Essentially yes what about the when you look at options for women in an ordinary world I don't know what would go I feel that is that billions and billions. When you look at life for women in the civilian world world and life for women in the military world do you think what do you see as the pluses for women in the military were as opposed to civilian life. I don't see there being as much of a glass ceiling for women in the military as there
is in the civilian world. We have really come a long way. We're no longer limited to just doing clerical administrative or nursing jobs. We are in leadership positions we have female generals we have female leaders across the military. And I think the military gives us more of an opportunity to to go up as high as we can go without that glass ceiling. What about the money. It depends on the right there to hold it right. The money is standard for male female There's no there's no difference difference whatsoever so that there's no difference in money for the male and the female is according to what rank you hold. Yes but what about the training. That's what a lot of people think about you think about groveling or climbing something. But you did have an idea. OK I think more exhilarating than shooting a weapon or firing weapons very stress relieving. So all women have to learn how to use weapons and that kind of thing when you go into the military.
Yes now is the is the basic is it called Basic Training for the Air Force is basically trying to guess what enlist in that same type of training but they just call it something different. So just saying same curriculum and you all don't find that difficult at all going through the training. I did again I was an hour to see so I knew going in what what it because every summer we did drill training which consists of the basic training we go through when you join but for the most part and you know I grew up in South Carolina so you know it's second nature. So if you were talking to two young women at the last board you're talking to them about a military career or a career in the Air Force What would you say to them as to how they should make a decision. I would say don't let fear make the decision for you because I know a lot of people make decisions emotionally. You know they may be afraid of what they actually would expect but don't let fear be something that's holding you back. Use that more as a
motivation factor and to conquer that. You know the military has I'm going to say it defines me as a person that more refined to me and just helped me learn how to set goals for myself help me learn how to just be a better person in general. And that's what I would tell them. I agree what the lieutenant is saying and you know if you're up for a challenge it is a challenge I think for the most who brought me out there and I think it just compliments who who I am and what I came in to do. And like I said our you know 21 years and counting. And I would if I had to do it all again I'd do it all over again. Well Wells Chief Master Sergeant thank you very much in return and we appreciate your being on the show with us today. Thank you. We really want to hear from you our mail address is connections as CEV Post-office Box eleven thousand Columbia South Carolina 2 9 2 1 1. Our e-mail address is connections at a CEV dot org and for more information about how you can participate. Go to the connections website it w w w
that S C E org slash connections. Well that's our show thank you so much for joining us remember stay connected. I'm Pete Bennett and I'll see you next time right here on connections.
Women in the Military
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South Carolina Educational Television Network
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South Carolina ETV (Columbia, South Carolina)
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Director: BENNETT,P.
Producing Organization: South Carolina Educational Television Network
AAPB Contributor Holdings
South Carolina Network (SCETV) (WRLK)
Identifier: 139450 (SCETV Reel Number)
Format: DVCPRO
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:26:46:00
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Chicago: “Connections; Women in the Military,” 2010-04-30, South Carolina ETV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Connections; Women in the Military.” 2010-04-30. South Carolina ETV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Connections; Women in the Military. Boston, MA: South Carolina ETV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from