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    In Her Own Words: A Georgia Air National Guard medical administrator’s thoughts on Women’s History Month

    Photo of 116th Medical Group Women's History Month Highlights

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Josiah Meece | U.S. Air Force Maj. Akilah Ford, a medical administrator with the 116th Medical Group,...... read more read more

    ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES

    03.01.2024

    Story by Staff Sgt. Josiah Meece 

    116th Air Control Wing

    ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – The 116th Air Control Wing is composed of people who come from all walks of life who serve in the Georgia Air National Guard. As we enter Women’s History Month, we wish to recognize some of the outstanding women in their career fields, such as U.S. Air Force Maj. Akilah Ford with the 116th Medical Group.

    Women’s History Month traces its origins to Santa Rosa, California, in 1978 where teachers and students held a weeklong celebration of women throughout United States history, celebrating their contributions to America in a historical, cultural, and societal context. Nine years later, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, officially recognizing March as Women’s History Month. It is an ongoing legacy of the incredible women who have served our nation in all aspects, whether that be in and out of uniform, being strong and capable leaders, and serving our communities.

    Ford began her Guard career while she was at Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia, where she entered the recruiter’s office and began to learn about what the Air National Guard had to offer, taking interest in the tuition assistance provided as she was still a student. She enlisted into the Air National Guard as a 41A, a medical administrator.

    “I love helping people,” said Ford. “The camaraderie amongst my peers and the way we help each other out, how we help others in the Guard, taking care of each other, it has become a little family for me. The work is rewarding.”

    As it currently stands women make up around thirty percent of personnel within the Air National Guard, and have made incredible accomplishments over the years. Ford herself reflects on what Women’s History Month meant to her, highlighting progression as a key aspect.

    “We have progressed a lot over the years,” said Ford. “In general we now have women holding leadership positions which twenty or thirty years ago you would not have seen holding those roles.”

    Ford expressed her admiration for key women in leadership roles both in and out of the military, such as Command Chief Master Sgt. Lynda Washington, the first female African American command chief for the Georgia Air National Guard, and key public figures such as Michelle Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsberg for their tenacity, their efforts striving for equality, and the many advancements they made during their tenure. She also highlighted several key women she had worked with during her career.

    Including Washington, Ford had worked alongside Air Force Brig. Gen. Amy Holbeck, the current Chief of Staff for the Georgia Air National Guard, and Lt. Col. Ileana O'Shea, commander of the 165th Logistics Readiness Squadron. She celebrated the achievements these and other women have made and voiced her hopes that there will be more to come.

    “Our voices can be heard," said Ford. "We offer a lot to the military organization, and I think we can be offered even more opportunities than what we have now. Definitely having the skill set, the education and the tenacity because it is not easy in this role, but if you really put your mind to it, you can definitely do it and get the job done. You have to be strong.”

    Legacy is what we leave behind. In the Air Force, it is part of our creed, ‘a legacy of valor.’ So when asked about what kind of legacy she wished to leave behind, Ford emphasized the importance of not letting adversity get in the way of your dreams.

    “I do think I have blazed a path for young women, to be able to look up to, so if I had to think about my legacy it’s ‘don’t let anything stop you…’ said Ford. "Adversity is out there, but there’s nothing you can’t overcome.”

    Ford closed by stating her career has been an amazing part of her life, and that she wouldn’t change anything about it.

    “I love my Air Guard family,” Ford said. “I’ve learned a lot, and in 27 years of my career, I’ve worked with some amazing people… It’s been an amazing ride, it’s been an amazing experience, and if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way.”

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.01.2024
    Date Posted: 03.05.2024 10:26
    Story ID: 465190
    Location: ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, US

    Web Views: 164
    Downloads: 2

    PUBLIC DOMAIN