All-female crews in the missile field for Women’s History Month

For the last few years, Air Force Global Strike Command recognizes Women’s History Month by coordinating all-female alert teams to dispatch to the missile field.

The first was in 2016.

Today, all three intercontinental ballistic missile wings, as well as the 341st Maintenance Group at Malmstrom Air Force Base, posted females to the field on International Women’s Day.

“To be able to represent women as operators, maintainers and even in the back-shops, which are male-dominated career fields, is just explosive,” Capt. Madeline Ross said in a release.

all female crew 2019

Air Force photo

Ross is the 341st Operations Group standardization and evaluation flight evaluator.

Malmstrom, F.E. Warren in Wyoming and Minot in North Dakota are the three ICBM bases.

In 2016, the female missile officers at all three ICBM bases were joined in the field by all-female B-52 aircrews from Minot and Barksdale AFBs. That year, female operators from the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska also participated. The 625th provides secondary Minuteman III launch capability through the Airborne Launch Control System, which is housed aboard the Navy’s E-6B aircraft and a backup to Minuteman launch control centers.

Women’s History Month commemorates and encourages the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

“The military is primarily male, and even more so in certain jobs, so the stigma that women only exist in supporting roles or as spouses is still out there,” Staff Sgt. Rachel Harrington, said in a release. “Women directly support the mission every day.”

Harrington is part of the 741st Maintenance Squadron electronics lab quality assurance section.

Women first entered pilot training 1976, navigator training in 1977 and fighter pilot training in 1993, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.

There are 321,444 active duty members, according to AFPC.

Of those:

  • 20.3 percent are women
  • 21.2 percent of the officers are women and
  • 20.1 percent of enlisted corps are women
  • 58 percent of the female officers are line officers; 42 percent are non-line
  • 85 percent of the male officers are line officers; 15 percent are non-line
  • 65,390 total population of women
  • 749 female pilots; 327 navigators; 229 air battle managers

The all-female crew day to celebrate Women’s History Month is designed to build awareness of women throughout history, according to the AF release, it’s not meant to exclude men.

“Each year we have more people excited and volunteering to participate and support, both women and men,” Ross said. “We want people to see that this is how Air Force Global Strike Command and Malmstrom celebrates Women’s History Month.”