Yes Sir, I Mean Ma’am, Okay Honey, I Mean…
Wow, Our Little Girl is an Air Force Officer?
Even as a young child, Christine, our second daughter, had a unique ability to problem solve and influence others to peaceful solutions. She could see the playground group who was excluding someone and calmly alter the guidelines to bring the outsider into the circle. She would see opportunities for leadership when others simply saw problems. She also adored her father, Dwain, a former Air Force officer who retired from the National Guard.
So why were we surprised one night at the end of a month when she called us from Seattle where she was living while going to community college. She said she had good news and bad news, which did we want to hear first? Her dad said, “Give us the good news.”
She then replied “Well, I am dating the cutest Air Force National Guard Recruiter.”
Her dad said, “You don’t even have to tell us the bad news, it is that he needed to make quota and so you joined up?”
She sighed and said “Gosh Dad, that would not be right, but I did sign up from one of his friends.”
A New Path
As always, she threw herself 100% into everything she did. She took advantage of all the training, exercises and mentoring available to her. Moving up the enlisted ranks, while finishing college and working fulltime in retail management, she honed her ability to get things done and be organized. As a single mother, she made sure her personal family was well taken care of and then served her extended family, the United States of America.
In 2002 she was called on to go to UAE working as communication support for the Air Force. While there an opening for an officer opened up in her home squadron. She realized that she had a small window of opportunity to pursue the paperwork, testing and training in order to become an officer. The age limit to apply was 35 years old, and she was within 4 months of that date.
Small but Mighty
She says; “This was a natural extension of my career goals and an opportunity to display what I believed in and who I wanted to be. I am extremely proud to be a part of the Air Force National Guard. Their mission, which is one I can totally represent with pride, is to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This includes building up communities where we serve.”
As for her role as a woman in the service, she says it has never been a disadvantage, nor has being 5’6″ and 128 lbs. She says; “Being one of six children in a military family taught me how to get along, negotiate and be a team player. Those skills have served me well in thinking of ways to make adjustments in how I accomplish my goals. I respect myself and I treat others with the same respect and that is how you lead.”
In 2008 the Northwest was hit with record snowfall and unprecedented blizzards. The Washington National Guard units were called on to shovel snow from the roofs of neighborhood schools so the children would be safe. Local families brought them hot chocolate, sandwiches and thank you messages for the work they did.
Working in local areas to build and strengthen communities by providing service of time, talent and treasure (monetary donations) is one of the special hallmarks of the National Guard. As a member of the command staff of the unit, Christine encourages all members to take an active part in their own communities and neighborhoods.
Model Core Values
Christine says; “For my kids and other young adults I hope to set an example by upholding the core values of the National Guard;
- Excellence in all we do
- Service before self
- Integrity first
If they can emulate these standards and character traits, they will see and experience what makes America great and be proud to contribute to the freedom we enjoy.”
As parents of Christine L. Wright, whether we call her Sir, Ma’am or Honey, we know that America is in good hands with women like her in leadership positions.