Women in History: Leaving Air Force better than she found it

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Janine Thibault
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
History is filled with examples of women serving their country - women like Susan B. Anthony, who lobbied for women's suffrage rights, or U.S. Army  Gen. Ann Dunwoody, who became the first female four-star general in the U.S. military.

One woman here continues that tradition of service.

After more than two decades of service, Chief Master Sgt. Karen Taber, 354th Mission Support Group superintendent, has seen a number of changes in the Air Force.

"The way women are treated and the roles they play in the military have changed in those 25 years," said Taber. "Now they are accepted into more and more career fields that used to be just men, and the number of women NCOs and officers increased."

As a young airman, Taber wanted to be a chief and strove to get to the top.

"Coming from a very small town, I thought it was the greatest thing to serve my country. I love the military, the rank structure and the way it has always seemed very equal and fair to me," said Taber, a Frazee, Minn., native.

Taber does not draw her inspiration solely from one woman in history. She has been motivated by all the women who have fought for the right to vote, the first female chief in the U.S. military and the countless heroes since 9/11 that have proven themselves in combat.

Supervisors mentored and pushed Taber so she could be recognized for the things she had accomplished. In turn, she has made it her goal, as she has come up through the ranks, to mentor and take Airmen under her wing, leaving the Air Force better than she found it.

"I want to leave a place knowing I've mentored certain people and they have done all they can and have been recognized for their achievements," said Taber.

As women continue to make history, Chief Taber added Women's History Month offers a great time to celebrate past accomplishments and encourage new advancements.

"This is a good time to pause and think about our contributions and what we will do in the future and look back at how far we've come," said Taber.