A candid reflection on Women's History Month and military service

  • Published
  • By 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

As a local police officer and Reserve Citizen Airman, Tech. Sgt. Gabriela Harris, NCOIC of the 514th Air Mobility Wing Developmental and Training Flight, has confronted adversities and surmounted challenges in both her military and law enforcement careers. With more than 16 years of military service spanning the Marine Corps, Air National Guard, and now the Air Force Reserve, she said her current role lends a unique perspective to Women's History Month in the military.     

“I’m able to mentor and guide recruits as they make the huge transition from civilian life to basic training,” Harris said. “I acknowledge the added challenges that come with being a women in the military, but assure them all that if they are the best versions of themselves – regardless of who they are – everything else will fall in line.”

Reflecting on the significance of Women's History Month, Harris initially and humorously dismissed the idea. She said her philosophy has always been to just see herself as a person first, focusing on accomplishing the task at hand, rather than dwelling on gender disparities.

As she reflected further, however, she acknowledged that there is nothing wrong with celebrating and seeing yourself as a women in the military.

“There’s value in our diverse perspectives and the strength it brings to the military community,” Harris said. “We just have to work hard to prove ourselves and earn respect.”

Harris also highlighted notable contributions made by women in military history, citing pioneers like Opha May Johnson, the first female Marine enlistee, and 1st Sgt Janina Simmons, the first black female to pass U.S. Army Ranger School.

“There have been noticeable improvements in the military’s culture, and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the trailblazing women before me,” Harris said.

Looking ahead, Harris expressed hope for continued excellence among women in their roles, advocating for inclusivity and equality while emphasizing the importance of competence above all else. 

The interview with Tech. Sgt. Harris provides a candid insight into Women's History Month in the military, capturing the challenges and triumphs experienced by women in service. We extend our thanks to Harris for sharing her valuable perspectives and experiences, offering a glimpse into the complexities of Women's History Month in the armed forces.