Wing leadership inspired by 'The Power of Women'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame
  • 104th Fighter Wing
Colonel David Halasi-Kun, 104th Fighter Wing vice commander, Lt. Col. Mary Harrington, chief of civic engagement with the National Guard Bureau, and Chief Master Sgt. Maryanne Walts, 104th FW command chief, recently attended the launch party for the book, “The Power of Women,” by Wayne E. Phaneuf and Joseph Carvalho III in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The women featured in the book inspired the leaders of the 104th FW to seek out stories from women at the unit with the intent to showcase how much of an impact they have.

“The women of our Wing have accomplished so much,” said Halasi-Kun. “Be it purely in their military careers, or our traditional members who have civilian and military success. Balancing those two lives plus a family life; they’re all inspiring stories worth telling.”

Getting those stories told can be empowering for everybody and shows a person’s sacrifices and capabilities, said Halasi-Kun.

“I want to learn about all of the really incredible people we have at this Wing,” said Halasi-Kun. “If we can put those stories out there, it makes people proud to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves.”

Walts said the challenges women face have changed over the years and she would like to learn how females are conquering them. It’s important for others to know their stories too, she said.

“My position is all about building solid relationships not only on base but connections in the community,” said Walts. “It is very important that our community knows what the military, especially locally, does on a daily basis.”

Walts said one of the challenges early in her career was a lack of female role models in high ranking positions. The military was made up of 8 to 12 percent of females when she enlisted but now is over 20 percent, she said.

She recalled a male that brought her under his wing earlier in her career and said she has now become a possible female role model for women. The support should go both ways, she said.

“It is about females supporting females, but I will tell you I’ve had a lot of males support me,” said Walts. “There are many men, even today, that support me and support our females. As it should be.”

Halasi-Kun said the 104th FW is a wing of powerful women and men and that gender does not define what a person is capable of doing.

“There’s no place in this country, this state, and certainly not this wing to say that a woman cannot or should not participate, contribute, and be equally compensated for their hard work,” said Halasi-Kun.