Face of Defense: Female Airman Seeks to ‘Make a Difference’

April 1, 2015 | BY By Senior Airman 1st Class Megan E. Acs , DOD News

Air Force Senior Airman Julie Breault said the desire to serve in the military was instilled in her at a young age.

“I wanted to be security forces. I know a lot of people go into the Air Force and get weeded into security forces, but I chose it because I feel like as security forces I can truly make a difference,” said Breault, who is a 4th-generation service member.

While the security forces career field has traditionally been male-oriented, Breault said she remains undeterred and unaffected by gender-role stereotypes.

Gender ‘Doesn’t Matter’

“Being in a career field that is primarily male-dominated feels relatively normal to me,” Breault said. “I understand women are outnumbered in security forces, but the guys do a really good job of treating me equally. When stuff hits the fan, it doesn’t matter [the] the gender of the person to the left or right of you. We’re defenders. That’s the label I’d prefer.”

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Smith, Breault’s supervisor at the 97th Security Forces Squadron here, noted that her performance is exemplary and said she performs her duties just as well, if not better, than many of the males in the same career field.

‘One of the Best’

“I wish more airmen would try to emulate her. She does things the best way she can and learns how to do things properly so she doesn’t have to do them again,” Smith said of Breault’s duty performance. “She’s a very hard worker. She’s one of the best that I’ve had work for me.”

Breault said she’s often asked about why she chose to join the military.

“Nobody has blatantly come up to me and said I shouldn’t be in the military because I’m a woman, but I have had people question why I wouldn’t want to do something else instead, like teach, or stay home with the kids,” she said. “I don’t have children currently, but I’ve seen many strong women who make it to the ranks of chief master sergeant or general. Many of them are mothers and wives and they do just fine. Someday I want to be a strong role model for my children as a woman in the military.”

In addition to these inquiries, Breault also expressed frustration at a belief held by some that women are recognized either through promotion or awards simply for being female.

“I’ve seen when women are recognized for doing a good job, there are often whispers and murmurs that she was only recognized because she was a woman and not for her hard work. I would like to break that stereotype,” she said. “Women should be able to get excited about their accomplishments without having to hear, ‘You got it because you’re a girl.’”

‘We’re Strong’

Breault expressed excitement and admiration for the women now being accepted into some combat positions, and said she was happy to see women progress in the traditionally male career fields.

“I want people to know that we’re strong,” she said. “We’re just as strong mentally and physically as the guys. Women are being accepted into Army Ranger School and they’re going to be held to the same standards as the men.”

Breault described her experiences and expectations as promising and sees a bright future for herself in the Air Force. She joked that she plans on staying in the Air Force until she has to be wheeled out as an old lady.

“I could see her being a chief someday,” Smith said. “She has that type of drive and motivation. You don’t have to give her a task if she knows something needs to be done. She’ll just go ahead, take the lead, and knock it out. She’s top-notch.”

Breault said she does aspire to reach the top of the enlisted ranks.

“I have a huge plan. I not only want to make chief, but if no one beats me to it in the near future, I would like to be the first female Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force,” she said. “I know I have what it takes.”