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 20 of 92

18 Aviation forWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 6 week. She says she quit on "The Grinder," an in- tense physical training session. "That's typical- ly where people want to go home," she says. She was re-assigned to an- other ship and pursued Yeoman, the specialty in the Coast Guard respon- sible for administrative support. She had been stationed in Petaluma, California, for fve years, was a Yeoman Second Class, and had given birth to two children when she decided it was time for a change. Jaime had maintained her fitness and wanted to try AST again. She received orders to the airman program in San Fran- cisco once again in 2009. Even though she was ft on land, it took a lot of work to regain her ftness in the water. She went to "A" School and was doing well, with the exception of some hip pain, until her seventh week. She went to the medical clin- ic hoping to get some Motrin and got an X-ray instead. In it, the doctors identifed a dark space in her femur that they di- agnosed as cancer and sent her back home to San Francisco. Fortunately, further examination and testing revealed that the dark space was simply a void in her bone, just something she was born with. With this news, she was offered another spot in "A" School. Jaime said, "No thanks!" She had just been away from home, leav- ing her Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate hus- band alone with their kids for two months, not to mention the prospect of starting train- ing from the beginning. After a lot of en- couragement from her family and the crew at San Francisco, she started again for the third time. Her class began with 18 students and she graduated with one other guy. Af- ter a successful tour in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she says she was busy and learned a lot about her rate, she transferred to Miami, Florida, where she is currently assigned. She tells her junior ASTs to ed- ucate themselves. "I can pretty much do anything in our job be- cause I study," she said. "I tell them not to be lazy and compla- cent. It's not all jumping out of helicopters and saving people— that's like a perk, but that's not all it's about. We have a good job. We get to work out, we're flying, and we're not stuck behind a desk." When they do go out, they have to be ready to put all of their men- tal preparation, physical train- ing, and EMT expertise to work. Aviation Survival Technician Sec- ond Class (AST2) Jodi Williams awoke to the search and rescue alarm around 2 in the morning on a duty night at Air Station Los Angeles in 2005. In less than 30 minutes, she was strapped into the back of an H-65 Dolphin heli- copter, launching from Los Ange- les International Airport, to aid a vessel in distress. When they ar- rived on scene, they found the vessel and its crew stranded on the rocks below a cliff. The aircrew decided Jodi would go into the water, a safe distance from the cliffs and rocks, so she could swim ashore and assess the situation. On the frst deployment attempt, she felt the hoist cable pull- ing her back up. The fight mechanic didn't want to put her in the water because of the big sea swells and whitecaps. Back in the cabin, the crew discussed the situation, and she con- vinced him to send her down. After fghting the seas and feel- ing like she wasn't getting anywhere, a wave fnally threw her toward the rocks. When she reached the boat, there were two guys pointing back toward the cliff. They had all been washed off the boat—one couldn't swim and the other had broken his leg—and their dad was stranded in a cave. "When I saw the cave, I got a lump in my chest," Jodi says. She navigated the surf-washed rocks to the opening of the cave, shone her fashlight, and saw the man's refective gear. Her train- ing kicked in as she jumped into the water and went after him. When she reached the man he was hypothermic. She swam and pulled him outside to the rocks where she helped him climb out of the water. He had trouble holding on but fnally got up. By this time the helicopter had departed the scene to refuel, so Jodi was left to provide initial care on scene. When they reached the boat, she ASTC Jodi Williams Visit the U.S. Coast Guard at the 27th annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Booth 1123.

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