Joint Base Andrews celebrate women of excellence during Women's History Month
By Bobby Jones, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 21, 2012
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- In recognition of National Women's History Month, Joint Base Andrews celebrates the dedicated women of the "Chief's Own" and their contributions in support of the nation's defense. This year's theme is "Women's Education - Women's Empowerment."
"Women are definitely empowered by education," said Staff Sgt. Brittinie Alvarez, 811th Security Forces Squadron area supervisor who is currently assigned to the 11th Wing Commander's Action Group. "The more we as women learn, the better and more empowered we are."
Alvarez is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe from the Fort Indian Reservation in Idaho.
"Long ago, the Native American women from my culture took care of the house, children and food preparation," said Alvarez. "But, they also took time to go with the men to hunt and even go to war. In fact, Native women have always held high positions in my tribal society, ensuring that they were knowledgeable to give good judgment and even chose who should be our chief."
Alvarez, whose given Native American name is "Day-gwa-doe," or "talks-a-lot," says that in the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, women were always tribal leaders.
"In my tribe, the oldest woman selected our chief based of his judgment," said Alvarez. "But, she could also fire him from his position if she felt he was not fit to lead. I hope to be like the highly-empowered women in my tribe. As a NCO in the military, I hope to be a role model, to practice having a voice of reason and to further understand the balance between military and family issues."
Currently, Alvarez is enrolled at American University and is working on obtaining her Community College of the Air Force degree.
"By working diligently and doing my best, I have received opportunities that aren't normally available in my career field," said Alvarez, referring to her current detail. "I really enjoy my job. I work with great people and learn something new every day!"
Alvarez's current detail of 11th Wing Commander's Action Group NCO makes her responsible for monitoring and tracking 11th Wing tasks for special and large event projects for the 11th Wing commander, and is a far cry from her original security forces position.
Alvarez further noted that her growth as a NCO could be attributed to the direct support of her mother and additional Air Force members.
"My mother, Tech. Sgt. Sean Williams, and mentor, Tech. Sgt. Don Jones, have played big factors in shaping who I am today," said Alvarez. "I can proudly say that because of them, I believe that I have become a better person. I've served in the Air Force a little over 8 years. I joined the Air Force to travel and discover new cultures, customs and food. There are so many new experiences out there that the normal American can't say they have done."
Alvarez summed up her perpetual drive to live life to its fullest with an old Native philosophy.
"I live by Crazy Horse's famous quote: 'Hóka-héy,' meaning, 'today is a good day to die,'" said Alvarez. "This quote is a belief that one should never live a moment of one's life with any regrets or tasks left undone. For me, this is the way I choose to live my life. By doing so, I hope that when I return home to the reservation, I can say that I've been there and done that. I can tell all the old people of my tribe how different the world is from the little reservation in Idaho."
Additionally, Alvarez highlights her personal opinion of women in the military.
"I think women add a wonderful contribution to the military, both those who are working civilians and working service members," said Alvarez. "I stand back and admire women out there taking on both the daily and motherly duties."