Women’s History Month panelists spark uplifting discussions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Evelyn J. D'Errico
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The 17th Medical Group Women’s History Month Committee hosted the 2024 17th Training Wing Women’s Leadership Panel at the Powell Event Center, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, on March 26. 

With the theme of the event being “A Journey in Her Shoes”, the program focused on the insight and journey of women in the military. Ret. U.S. Army Maj. Dalmyra Price Caesar, White House Personnel deputy director, was the keynote speaker for the event. 

“I always refer back to my time in the military and my humble beginnings that made me strive for things that seem impossible,” said Price. “Everyone can see what is possible when you make up your mind to not believe what people may say about you. The White House is just one of several possibilities that you can strive for.”

The panel invited six women, from across the 17th TRW, who have made and continue to make a difference in the military to share their stories with attendees. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brenda K. Miazga, 17th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron commander and head nurse, Lt. Col. Renee Fontenot, 17th Training Support Squadron commander, Chief Master Sgt. Khamillia A. Washington, 17th Training Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Chief Master Sgt. Catherine Gaco-Escalera, 17th MDG senior enlisted leader, Senior Master Sgt. Crystal Doepker, 17th Comptroller Squadron senior enlisted leader, and Staff Sgt. Crystyle Caviness-Jules, 17th Communications Squadron project manager, all answered questions asked by the audience. 

“I was meeting more people,” said Washington. “Just doing more things, having more of an impact. That was it for me, that’s what caused me to stay and enjoy the environment. I don't know if I’d have those relationships outside of the military.” 

Questions to the panel varied from the reason for staying in the military, career hardships and inspiring mentorships. Each panelist took turns addressing the audience’s questions and creating a safe learning environment for attendees. 

The panel came to an end with closing remarks from Lt. Col Jennifer Johnson, 17th Healthcare Operations Squadron commander. 

“The women who have courageously broken through barriers and busted through glass ceilings are the very women who have allowed me to be here today,” said Johnson. “I’m really thankful that I had the realization. I want to thank the Women’s History Month Planning Committee, you have done a fantastic job.”

Women’s History Month stands as a reminder of the strength the Air Force has and will gain through having a high-quality and diverse all-volunteer force that comes from ensuring that all members, military and civilian, have opportunities to reach their full potential.