By Robb Lingley | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — March marks the 32nd year of celebrating Women’s History Month for the 21st Space Wing here. Women and their contributions to national defense are celebrated regardless of nationality, creed or background.
For Col. Kirsten Aguilar, 21st Mission Support Group commander, Women’s History Month provides the opportunity to reflect on her career as an Air Force officer.
Aguilar comes from a military family, which inspired her to join the Air Force to do her part for her family and country.
“I did want to fly fighters after watching the movie ‘Top Gun,’” said Aguilar. “Unfortunately, I had poor vision and pilot training was not an option. I would have joined the Navy but my father, a former sailor, convinced me the Air Force was the better option for me so I decided to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and join the Air Force.”
Aguilar said her biggest Air Force accomplishment is being able to command.
“Command is the greatest opportunity you can have, because with command you are entrusted with caring for others, ensuring the mission gets done and having the opportunity to recognize the hard work of your people,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar said her biggest learning moment as an officer was when she was a young captain. She had the mentality of “keep up or get out of my way.”
While that certainly was an aggressive approach, she realizes now that not everyone worked at her pace and that sometimes slow and steady was the right answer, because fast and furious didn’t always work.
“Recognizing the strengths in others and leveraging those strengths, rather than trying to overrun them, was by far my biggest learning moment,” she said.
In her career Aguilar said she has been blessed to work with several strong female officers, enlisted and civilian leaders throughout her military career, but the woman who has influenced her the most was without a doubt her mother.
“My mother taught me to be strong, independent and courageous and that nothing would be too difficult as long as I believed in myself,” said Aguilar. “Those words gave me the confidence to tackle challenges as they came up.”
Aguilar has sound advice for young female Airmen in the Air Force today.
“Be strong, courageous and confident in everything you do by being the best Airman you can be,” said Aguilar. “While it’s not easy, you can be an Airman, a wife, and a mom all at the same time.
Women’s History Month started as a national celebration in 1982, when Congress authorized the president to proclaim the week beginning on March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week.
In 1987, Congress designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.