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Female Airmen celebrate Women's History Month -- Training for war to defend peace

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --  Female Airmen representing the United States and Republic of Korea Air Forces gather together to show their unity for Women’s History Month during the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 09 exercise here. The women represent a variety of ranks and job specialties within the Air Component Command. The annual air and space portion of Key Resolve demonstrates U.S. resolve to support the Republic of Korea against external aggression while improving ROK-U.S. combat readiness and joint/combined interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Female Airmen representing the United States and Republic of Korea Air Forces gather together to show their unity for Women’s History Month during the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 09 exercise here. The women represent a variety of ranks and job specialties within the Air Component Command. The annual air and space portion of Key Resolve demonstrates U.S. resolve to support the Republic of Korea against external aggression while improving ROK-U.S. combat readiness and joint/combined interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Women at Osan Air Base paused to celebrate Women's History Month combat-training style, during the two-week Key Resolve/Foal Eagle (KR/FE) peninsula-wide military exercise here.

Korean and American women supporting KR/FE at Osan AB take President Barack Obama's theme for Women's History Month seriously: "Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet." They help in a very real way to preserve, protect and defend the Republic of Korea for present and future generations. 

In his Presidential Proclamation for "Women's History Month," the President said, "with passion and courage, women have taught us that when we band together to advocate for our highest ideals, we can advance our common well-being and strengthen the fabric of our Nation." 

American women accept military assignments to the Republic of Korea, alongside their military brothers, for one- to three-year normal tours or one to three-weeks supporting military exercises. 

Leaving their families and friends behind, females along with men assigned here, face daily operational challenges and long hours while they make history. 

Women serving in the U.S. or ROK Air Force, and those who came before them continue to inspire generations of those serving. They are joining a proud history of women who not only pursue their interests and talents, they take the lead. 

"Women deeply value peace and women Airmen believe peace is ensured by the preparedness of our forces and the strength of our alliances," said Brig. Gen. Barbara J. Faulkenberry, Air Component Command Director of Mobility Forces and the senior ranking female supporting KR/FE. "Like past generations of men and women who have worn our nation's uniform, we dedicate our lives to protecting peace and freedom in the Republic of Korea and around the world," she added. 

At Osan AB, women are woven into the Air Component Command joint/combined team. Their mission is exciting, challenging and clear - deter, protect and defend the Republic of Korea from attack from North Korea. They provide "ready to fight tonight" air power - precise, intense, and overwhelming; whenever and wherever needed.

"Women's Month is a good celebration. It is humbling to take a moment and reflect on the challenges women have faced, and honor the breakthrough achievements gained during some our nation's toughest moments," said Maj. Miralba Fernandez-Covas, Chief of Knowledge Management (ACC/PJ) here. "Our 'foremothers' helped our history go forward."

Women broke social barriers and struggled for equality while paving the way for other women to serve in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps

Now, female warriors stand on the shoulders of their female ancestors. They serve side by side American and Korean men, protecting freedom so that others may also live free.
 
More than 1,400 U.S. Air Force guard, reserve and active duty Airmen, many of them women, are participating in the air and space portion of Key Resolve. On the manpower documents U.S. women are not labeled separately from the men, because the U.S. Air Force treats males and females fairly with no gender block on positions here. 

They are a band of sisters and brothers, serving one alliance. 

"There is no difference in my mind, you create your own barriers," said Major Fernandez-Covas. "We're all human beings, and we're all doing a service to humanity - equally." 

The annual air and space portion of KR/FE, a strategic operational-level of the air and space training exercise, demonstrates U.S. resolve to support the Republic of Korea against external aggression while improving ROK-U.S. combat readiness and joint/combined interoperability. 

"These exercises are designed to help teach, coach, and mentor military members from both the ROK and U.S., while exercising senior leaders' decision-making capabilities," said Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of the Combined Forces Command. "The primary goal is to ensure the command is ready to defend the ROK in the event it becomes necessary."