Icewoman in action: celebrating Women's History Month part three
By Master Sgt. Keri Frandsen, 354th Maintenance Squadron
/ Published March 25, 2015
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Editor's note: This is part of a series celebrating Women's History Month.
I'm Master Sgt. Keri Frandsen, the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament flight chief.
My job involves loading and unloading munitions on aircraft and maintenance of the weapons release systems and components, such as launchers, bomb racks, and the 20 mm gun system. Through the last 16 years of my career, my roles have changed, allowing me to grow into the Airman I am today.
As the armament flight chief, I'm training future leaders by instilling the knowledge I've gained from my experiences. I lead 14 Airmen as they perform troubleshooting and routine maintenance on weapons release equipment after its removal from the aircraft, to include 630 pieces worth approximately $12 million.
My only professional goal is to take care of Airmen by building them to be stronger leaders and technicians. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't remind myself that they have families who want them to come home safely.
In my spare time I enjoy traveling, practicing yoga, taking photos and camping. This summer I am going to try beekeeping. I am also working toward a master's degree in organizational leadership, which currently eats up a lot of my extra time.
I am from a small town and knew that there was more out there for me. An Air Force recruiter came to my school one day and said all the right words -- travel, school, money -- and at the time I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with my life. I graduated high school in a class of 58 people and was the only one with plans to join the military.
It is a privilege and duty to serve my country. It is the pride I have in my job and an honor to wear my uniform every day. Even though there are very few female senior noncommissioned officers in maintenance career fields, we all have the same expectations levied upon us. I have a duty to put forth my best effort every day for many reasons; one of which is because of how hard women before me fought for the right to serve our country. The life I have now wouldn't be possible without the trailblazers who fought for women to serve alongside men.
One such trailblazer is Chief Master Sgt. Christine Beaudion, who became the first female active-duty Air Force chief master sergeant in my career field, of which there are only two to date. It's inspiring to see someone break down such a long-standing barrier and great way to celebrate women's history month.
The Air Force has become more diverse and accepting of people from all walks of life. It is inspiring to see increasing numbers of young female Airmen succeeding in jobs that were dominated by males for so many years. In the early 1940s, when the Women's Army Corps was formed, the opportunities for women were limited. Today, the options are limitless and the strengths of any Airman, despite of their gender, can be leveraged to meet the mission.