More than a Woman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – A 22-year-old woman from Barberton, Ohio, joined the 14 percent of women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Now, 16 years later, Jamie Baker, 22nd Air Refueling Wing deputy chief of education and training, says being a female veteran is one of the most rewarding experiences she has been through.


All of the female Airmen that have served follow in the footsteps of Esther Blake, the first female enlistee of the U.S. Air Force. June 12 was designated as Woman’s Veterans Day to honor Blake and all of the women that have served in the U.S. military since 1948, when women were first allowed in the Air Force.


“When people find out I am a veteran, they are normally pretty surprised,” said Baker. “It makes you even more proud that as a woman, you were still able to serve and do all of the physical activities that were required, without ever giving up.”


Baker’s grandfather, father and brothers all served in the armed forces, which inspired her to want to join the military. Baker then explained that being a female veteran means so much to her, especially coming from a military family dominated by male veterans.


Baker was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in 2004, where she began her career as a Public Affairs photographer. During her time in the Air Force, Baker was deployed to Al-Asad Air Base, Iraq and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, where she supported both operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.


“Being able to have such an amazing job and capture moments was such an amazing feeling,” said Baker.


After honorably separating from the military in 2010, Baker decided to stay in Wichita and now works at the education center on McConnell. Baker said that her love for Air Force culture and the Airmen are what drive her continuous service to others.


“I love coming to work every day knowing that I will be able to help someone in one way or another,” said Baker. “Even being a supervisor in the military, I was always having to help with training and teaching so it really prepared me for what I do now.”


Baker enjoys her interactions with Airmen and assisting them in any way she can. Whether she is administering tests or giving educational advice, she is always there to serve Team McConnell. As a veteran, Baker says she enjoys serving the community of Airmen she once belonged to. 


“I love helping people and to me, it is all about giving back,” said Baker.


Even though Baker traded her boots for a button-up, she continues to serve her community and its Airmen every day.