Monday, May 12, 2014

The Bad Ass Ladies of Bravo Company...And Beyond.

I've had a long absence from my blog for several reasons, all of which can be discussed at a later date.

This is much more important.

Last night my husband asked me what my dream was, and I told him I didn't know anymore. It used to be invading "The 3%" - which is the percent of women who hold executive, creative positions in advertising. Now that I'm half out of the biz, it's not really possible.

Hubby asked me what I wanted to be instead. After thinking about it, I decided I at least wanted to be what the 3% stood for. To be smart. Creative. I wanted people to look up to me. To be able to solve problems. To have people look at me and think "damn, that girl does some cool shit. I wish I could do that."

As I was saying this, I realized I knew women that had those traits, ladies other than female creative directors and ECDs. In fact, one of them had been sitting at our backyard fire last night. And it wasn't just her, there were several of them I counted among my good friends.

They are the bad ass lady helicopter pilots of the Army.

It perplexes me that I never really thought about them before during my time down in Alabama. We watch movies like Divergent and The Hunger Games, in awe of the female heroines, wishing they really existed. As it turns out, a lot of those ladies are more than real.

These ladies fly Apaches, shrieking into the middle of the fight guns blazing. They fly Blackhawks, landing through a tidal wave a bullets to pick up the fallen. And have you seen Act Of Valor when that boat goes flying out of the back of a Chinook hovering just above the water? Jeebus!.

And have you SEEN a helicopter hover? The pilots themselves have told me they don't actually know how it works. They fully believe it runs on magic, and somewhere there are unicorns and leprechauns sitting around drinking beer willing these things into existence.

By all rights these things shouldn't even be airborne. An airplane's natural state is soaring like a bird with it's wings open. A helicopter's natural state is upside down and on fire. That is where it wants to be.

Despite all that, women get in these things every day and take to the air. I know guys do these things too but let's be real. Men are stupid and do things for stupid's sake.  But ladies, we are smarter than that. I don't know what's wrong with you, but you do things I am incapable of.
Come on. How could you not want to drive that. 

So when it comes to all those traits I desire to have, I can find it in all of those women. Smart. Problem Solvers. People looking up and respecting them. Doing cool shit other people wish they could do.

It's even more bad ass than drinking whiskey and writing superbowl commercials at 3am.

When you think of the world they work in, it gets even more amazing. Working in any male dominated industry can be hard. We have to tougher, smarter, constantly proving ourselves, all while trying to stay feminine and be respected as one of the guys. I mean come on, you put a set of boobs in a guys face and sometimes all that shit you work for goes out the window.

Take it up a notch as a chick army pilot:
Can you imagine staying emotionally centered when Aunt Flow is visiting and all you want to do is cry, pass out and eat a damn brownie but instead you're trying not to crash a billion dollar machine/kill yourself while some asshole is yelling in your ear and bullets are flying? I feel for ya gurl. That's some stress.

My favorite story about a female pilot is of a Marine Corps CH-46 pilot in Iraq. Her helicopter was shot down on her last flight. When they spoke about her, they said when the alarm would sound and everybody would run to their Birds, she was the fastest. She'd always get there first out of that whole crew of dudes. As she went down, she was calm and collected over the radio, doing everything she could even though inventible death was staring her right in the eyeballs.

The decisions these women made every day are astounding. I envy their ability to make tough calls in the heat of the moment, to go into battle like a modern day Lagertha  or Breanne of Tarth, and to not run from fear but towards it.

So after the next Game of Thrones episode you watch, instead of going on and on about how you'd do Daenerys or think about learning archery because you're certainly going to learn to kill and skin a deer like Katnis then make out with the hot but oppressed guy who appears out of the woods, stop and think a minute. Instead imagine those ladies doing epic feats from 10,000 miles up in a machine that even the pilots think is run by magic.

Thank you to the ladies of Bravo Company here at Fort Rucker. It has been a pleasure getting to know you, be your friend, and to have felt your influence. You might not have felt like you taught me anything, but I have learned much. I am looking forward to annoying more of you in Fort Bragg. You are way cooler than army wives.


There are only 10 women for every 100 US Helicopter Pilots in the Army- and funny story- they only account for 3 out of every 100 accidents (Where's that ALLSTATE voice over guy when you need him? 

The first female helicopter pilot graduated in June, 1974.

2013 is the first year they allowed female helicopter pilots to try out for the 160th SOAR (Special Ops Helicopter Unit). 2014 they accepted their female candidate.

One woman trying out for the 160th kicked her fellow dudes asses during pull ups. She did over 20 when they told her to stop. The other guys topped out at 10. How cool is that. BEAST MODE!

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