Female Firefighter Fosters Future Force: Tech. Sgt. Adrianna Hopkins

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Williams
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Women make up roughly 20% of the U.S. Air Force. Numbers get significantly smaller within the fire protection career field.

Tech. Sgt. Adrianna Hopkins is the only Air Force female firefighter instructor at the 312th Training Squadron.

Being a female in a male-dominated career field does not stop Hopkins. When she puts on the suit, it no longer becomes about who is inside, but how well she can do the job.

“I’m surrounded by wingmen that don’t care if you’re male or female or what you look like,” said Hopkins. “They want a competent firefighter. They want someone they know will have their back when we enter a fire.”

As a kid, Hopkins attended a junior firefighter program in her local community. The program lit her fire to become a civilian firefighter in 2010.

Since she was a child, Hopkins dreamed of serving. When she was guaranteed a job in fire protection, Hopkins enlisted in the Air Force in 2012.

 “I was already a firefighter when I joined, so I thought I was in good shape,” said Hopkins. “When I got to technical training, I was pushed to my limits, and I failed the physical component.”

Through failure, she pushed herself to reach a new level of Air Force excellence.

Hopkins graduated technical training in 2012 and was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras; and Spangdahlem, Germany as the only female firefighter in the squadron.

“I’ve been in for 10 years, and I can count the number of female firefighters I’ve worked with on one hand,” said Hopkins. “I recently went to a Women in Fire conference, where I sat with a bunch of female firefighters. It was amazing.”

The conference flared Hopkins’ internal fire once again.

“It was motivating to see other females out there in the career field, kicking butt, knocking down fires, and just being motivators,” said Hopkins. “Seeing those other women helped me realize that I can motivate other people.”

Hopkins uses her experiences to enhance the training of future Department of Defense firefighters at the 312th TRS.

Hopkins has instructed fire training, hazmat training, and currently instructs Emergency Medical Responder training.

“Her transition from hazmat to EMR has made her a better and more well-rounded instructor and firefighter,” said Master Sgt. Darren Ortiz, 312th TRS EMR section chief. “She has taken the initiative to learn everything she can to ensure that her students are always put first and set up for success.”

Hopkins encourages new generations of female firefighters to exceed the expectations of those who doubt female ability.

“I had instructors that encouraged me, and I had instructors that told me I wasn’t strong enough,” said Hopkins. “I want my students to know that they’re prepared for their job and can do anything they set their minds to.”