All female Air National Guard crew takes flightA Wisconsin Air National Guard helicopter that flew over the state today was operated by an all-female crew.
By: By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A Wisconsin Air National Guard helicopter that flew over the state today was operated by an all-female crew. It's one example of the increase in women in the state's military.
Captain Luella Dooley-Menet has been an Air National Guard pilot for seven years. She says there's never been an all-female crew on one of the state's Blackhawk helicopter medical evacuation flights. That's until today, in West Bend, where Dooley-Menet led a female crew on a 90-minute training flight. Dooley-Menet says it was another important step forward for women in the military.
“Women's role in the military, you see us breaking down barriers, and doing more and really pulling our weight: becoming part of the fight,” she said.
Dooley-Menet says in the 1990s, an all-female crew piloted one of the state's Cobra gunship helicopters, but since that time, the number of women in the Air National Guard has grown so that 27 of the 145 soldiers at West Bend are women, including eight female aircraft crew members. The crew chief on today's flight, Sergeant Cassandra Weiss, also takes pride in her role.
“I feel like I've actually accomplished something as a female,” she said. “We all work hard, all females in the military — as well as men! — but I feel that we are becoming more of a presence.”
Weiss declined comment on a more controversial issue in the military — the Obama administration's plans to have women fight in combat. Then Weiss, and the others put on their flight gear, checked over the Blackhawk helicopter and took off on their flight.