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Women in History: Respect better earned

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Becky Davis, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress section chief, inspects an F-16 Fighting Falcon Advance Concept Ejection Seat II March 9, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Davis will inspect for cracks, contamination, corrosion and the correct routing of hoses to ensure to proper function in the event of an in-flight emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Becky Davis, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress section chief, inspects an F-16 Fighting Falcon Advance Concept Ejection Seat II March 9, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Davis will inspect for cracks, contamination, corrosion and the correct routing of hoses to ensure to proper function in the event of an in-flight emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Becky Davis, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress section chief, and Airman 1st Class William Harrison, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress apprentice, repair deficiencies on an F-16 Fighting Falcon Advance Concept Ejection Seat II March 9, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Once clear of an aircraft, the ACES II is capable of automatically sensing egress conditions and mortar-deploying its main chute in less than 2 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Becky Davis, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress section chief, and Airman 1st Class William Harrison, 354th Maintenance Squadron egress apprentice, repair deficiencies on an F-16 Fighting Falcon Advance Concept Ejection Seat II March 9, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Once clear of an aircraft, the ACES II is capable of automatically sensing egress conditions and mortar-deploying its main chute in less than 2 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Editor's note: "Women in History" is a four-part series portraying women currently stationed at Eielson who have positively made an impact.

Whether bandaging a wounded soldier or working extended hours at the city factory, women have been contributing to the success of this nation long before wearing any military uniform. Women in the Air Force, as well as those in other service branches, continue to set the bar high for themselves and their peers --male and female.

Choosing to separate herself from women's past challenges, Master Sgt. Becky Davis, 354th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems section chief, enlisted in the Air Force 17 years ago -- a living testament to perseverance and equal opportunity for women in the workplace.

While at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., a female master sergeant inspired Davis, a newly promoted technical sergeant at the time, and she studied her every action. When learning from the female master sergeant, Davis said her experience reaffirmed how others were already watching her as she progressed in her Air Force Career and probably looking up to her as a mentor, role model and leader.

"I [did] notice that I watched her because she had more rank," said Davis. "I guess it's weird to think someone may watch me."

Davis has had few role models like this one, and recommends female Airmen look for leaders who provide examples they can internalize.

In many maintenance squadrons, female Airmen are the minority compared to their male counterparts, especially compared to other career fields.

Because the various hangars committed to the flying mission here are filled with Airmen "turning wrenches," women in these types of career fields "almost have to be stronger," said Davis.

By always rising to the occasion and meeting challenges, Davis has earned the respect of her Airmen. The recently promoted master sergeant has taken the lead at the egress shop by providing Airmen with a positive example, asking all Airmen to strive for excellence.

No one is perfect and everybody has a bad day, however, learning from past mistakes and improving each time you perform a task -- a repair or an inspection -- is one way to have a positive approach to any situation, said Davis. It is the way maintainers become resilient members of our Air Force.

"I'm here for the good and the bad," said Davis. "Whether we did a good job or didn't do so great, I just help knock down [obtacles] and just let the [Airmen] know what to do."

At the end of the day -- as a male or female Airman -- your work ethic is all you have, Davis said. Airmen must strive to exhibit all the qualities of a hard worker because respect is always earned, never given.