Aviation for Women

MAR-APR 2016

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

Issue link: https://afwdigital.epubxp.com/i/638688

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Page 16 of 92

14 Aviation forWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 6 "What's your number?" This is the frst question Aviation Survival Technician Chief (ASTC) Kar- en Voorhees asks when any Coast Guard recruit expresses interest in be- coming an aviation survival technician (AST). The number Karen refers to in her question is, "How many pushups, pullups, and chin-ups can you do?" ASTs maintain the Coast Guard avia- tion community's survival equipment and provide high-quality survival training to aircrews. They also train as rescue swimmers, a qualifcation that allows them to jump, and be hoisted, from helicopters into the water to assist in maritime search and rescue missions, to rescue victims stranded on cliffs or ice, and to perform emergency medical technician (EMT) services. While the national debate continues about women's physical abilities to train and serve alongside their male counterparts, the Coast Guard's most physically demanding specialty has been open to women since its incep- tion in 1985. AST "A" school is a grueling 24-week program based in Eliza- beth City, North Carolina, and has a 74 percent attrition rate. This is with a pre-qualifcation physical screening that requires applicants to perform 40 pushups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, three pullups, three chin-ups, 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes, 450-meter swim in 12 minutes, and four 25-meter underwater laps. The entire workout must be completed in under an hour, and standards for men and women are identical. by Cmdr. Liz Booker AVIATION SURVIVAL TECHNICIAN WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A COAST GUARD RESCUE SWIMMER

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