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 19 of 92

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 6 Aviation forWomen 17 2013 she became the frst female AST to advance to chief in Coast Guard history. Now she is back in Atlantic City as the AST shop chief with 15 ASTs in her charge. Karen expresses concern about our culture when asked why there aren't more female ASTs: "We pat our kids on the head and tell them they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, but we don't tell them they have to work to get it. Men aren't passing the PT test either." Master Chief Petty Offcer Clay Hill is the AST rating force manager at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. He says the biggest obstacles to success in AST "A" School are up- per body strength and confdence in the water. His advice to anyone hoping to succeed is to be able to do the physical test as part of a regular workout routine, not as the workout, and to be really at ease in the water. He says the most successful ASTs are those who "play water polo, surfers, people who get in the water and do more than just competitive swimming; people who know the power of the ocean, who know what it feels like to get pulled down, held down, beat down in the wa- ter, and who do not hit the panic button." Aviation Survival Technician First Class (AST1) Jaime Va- nacore echoes Clay's assertion about water confdence. "You have to be calm when you're being dragged underwater," she said. "It's a different crossbreed. You have to be strong on land and in water, and you have to endure pain and discom- fort. You're going to be cold; you have to train to be able to drag a person through the water." Jaime first heard of ASTs in high school. She enlisted in the Coast Guard and served on a ship for a year before be- ing assigned to the airman program in San Francisco in 2004. She had played team sports—volleyball, softball, soccer—and grew up swimming in the ocean, but still had to work on her upper body strength. At 19 she went to "A" School, and quit during her second ASTC Karen Voorhees

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