Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 23, 2021

Women's Initiative Team Awarded

By Senior Airman Kevyn Allen 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Women’s Initiative Team (WIT), was recognized for their achievements with the Department of the Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Team Innovation Award at the Pentagon.

Lt. Col. Chandra Flemming, 25th Fighter Squadron directing officer, and Lt. Col. Kathryn Gaetke 7th Air Force division chief were among those recognized by at the Pentagon, with Secretary of the Air Force Mr. Frank Kendal and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Charles Brown in attendance.

The primary focus of the WIT is the breaking of barriers that affect women’s abilities to serve in the Air Force. Their recent changes include a policy change to AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force. The new hair standards have single-handedly changed the way women can wear their hair while in uniform.

“So these braids, these ponytails, that’s what the WIT did,” said Flemming. “There was a group called Warrior Braids, and they recognized that there were issues for women having their hair in a bun all day, like hair-loss and migraines being caused. It’s also not inclusive of all cultures and hair types.”

The WIT also identified policies preventing female Airmen from becoming pilots without a special waiver. WIT encouraged policy changes to develop the pilot program to more women and give more people a chance to serve their country.

“So right now the minimum height to be a pilot is 5’4, and fifty percent of the female population in the U.S. is 5’4 or shorter,” said Flemming. "It opened the door to half of the female population in the U.S. by having the barrier of a waiver removed.”

In effort to assist female Airmen throughout the Air Force, the WIT exercises their focus on women’s service like Air Combat Command’s “SWORD ATHENA” to identify the major problem areas. With “SWORD ATHENA”, the WIT learn which problems impact the force the most and prioritize solutions based on those needs.

“One win that came out of “SWORD ATHENA” was the authorization of blue tooth enabled breast pumps in secure vaults. This let me continue to work efficiently and continue to breastfeed my baby in the AOC,” said Gaetke.

The WIT’s continued efforts to accelerate change and knock down barriers that stand in the way of women serving to their full potential has earned the team the Department of the Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Team Innovation Award.

In a short amount of time, the WIT contributions have been on the cusp of creating major changes within the Air Force. Their future plans include efforts to accelerating diversity and inclusion, thus making the Air Force suitable for all service members.


Like Us
Follow Us



Washington National Guard and Royal Malaysian Air Force honor fallen colleague in unique ceremony
From Right to Left: Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Commander of the Washington Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general, Washington and Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, Commanding General of the Washington Army National Guard attend the memorial ceremony for Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan on Nov. 23, 2021 at the House of Mercy, an all-Muslim cemetery near Covington, Wash. Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan passed away after sustaining a medical emergency during a recent State Partnership Program visit to Washington.
Nov. 24, 2021 - During the recent Washington and Malaysian airmen to airmen talks held at Camp Murray, a tragedy occurred when Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan died after sustaining a medical emergency. His sudden passing was...

Prototype Aims to Reduce Fuel Use, Improve Tactical Vehicle Performance
Military vehicles move down a road at the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group in Fort Polk, La., Nov. 24, 2020.
Nov. 24, 2021 - The Defense Department operates a fleet of more than 250,000 tactical vehicles, which frequently operate in austere conditions. These vehicles often spend as much of their operational time stationary as they do in motion,...

U.S. Marines and Sailors Rehearse Maritime Strikes in the Pacific
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 takes off from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 18, 2021. VMFA-112 participated in a joint maritime strike rehearsal with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Okinawa, Nov 19, 2021. U.S. Marines with VMFA-112 routinely train and rehearse joint maritime mission sets in order to maintain readiness to carry out a wide range of operational tasks in a region characterized by vast oceans, seas, and waterways.
Nov. 24, 2021 - IWAKUNI, Japan. -- U.S. forces with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet conducted a joint rehearsal of tactics and simulated strikes on naval targets off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 19, 2021. Between...

Malaysia, U.S. Commence Bilateral Exercise Maritime Training Activity Malaysia
Vice Adm. Datuk Abu Bakar bin Md Ajis, Commander, Western Fleet, Royal Malaysian Navy, provides opening remarks for Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 during a virtual ceremony, Nov. 23. MTA Malaysia is a continuation of 27 years of U.S. Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy serving to enhance mutual capabilities in ensuring maritime peace and stability.Malaysia,
Nov. 23, 2021 - STRAIT OF MALACCA -- Military personnel from Malaysia and the U.S. kicked off Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 virtually and in the waters and airspace of the Strait of Malacca, Nov. 23.The eight-day engagement...

Rules-Based International Order Must Be Protected with Allies, Partners, Indo-Pacom Commander Says
Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, conducts an interview during the 2021 Halifax International Security Forum (HFX). HFX is dedicated to strengthening strategic cooperation among democratic nations.
Nov. 23, 2021 - WASHINGTON -- The 80-year-old rules-based international order has done everything it's designed to do for all nations by enabling security, stability and prosperity for all around the globe, Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino,...