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Team McChord hosts Women’s History Month panel

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Charles Casner
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

 In honor of Women’s History Month, Team McChord held a “Come Hear Our Story” panel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., March 9, 2022.

 The event hosted women service members and spouses who shared their experiences to Team McChord members. Additionally, the panel facilitated discussion on various topics including challenges in the military, networking and diversity. 

“I would say a long distance [relationship]  is a challenge since my husband and I both are at different duty stations,” said Capt. Holly Uebelacker, 4th Airlift Squadron pilot and one of the panel members. “It’s a juggle, some things are going to be held higher, some things are going to drop. Communication has been key. It has been great to grow with each other. There have been moments where I have been really exhausted and do not want to talk about work, my husband has always been very respectful of that."

 Connections can also pose a challenge to military spouses since moving around is a regular occurrence.

“When people find out that I’m military, they think I’m not going to be around for long,” said Melissa Collins, Team McChord key spouse. “They do not want to invest in a friendship, or especially offer me a job. Finding those connections have been something that is really hard for me but I always see past people's apprehension and try to make those connections anyway.” 

 Joan Brown, widow of Maj. Gen. Don Brown, former 62nd Airlift Wing commander, also shared the different challenges she encountered as a military spouse for more than 20 years as well as some of the ways she and her military spouse overcame those problems. 

“We talked constantly,” Brown said. “When my husband would go on a trip, we would have to catch up with each other. In our day, we did not have cell phones, We didn't have any way of communicating when he was gone. So we’d play catch up. I've been told that that was the salvation of marriage too.”

The panel also emphasized the Air Force’s promotion of diversity and inclusion.

 “Acknowledging that everyone can bring something to the table, respecting other people's views because they may come from a different spot and bring a different type of thinking that I would have never thought of myself,” said Staff Sgt. Shalana Sims, 8th Airlift Squadron commander’s support staff noncommissioned officer in charge. “To me, that's diversity and inclusion, because it can apply to anyone no matter your race or your gender.”  

Since its inception, the U.S. Air Force has constantly been making strides to be more diverse and inclusive
 In 1987, Congress delegated March as Women’s History Month to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history, including those who serve and have served in the military.

“It means not just having a seat at the table but having enough seats for everyone,” said Maura Rust, 62nd Airlift Wing key spouse.

Panels like this give insight to many different viewpoints on various subjects. Team McChord service members and spouses came together to tackle overcoming challenges, connections and diversity with a common goal to honor Women’s History Month.