Proud to be a Woman of Maintenance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Grease-covered combat boots conceal painted toes. Dirt smudges replace foundation. The scent of gunpowder clings to the fibers of her uniform and masks her perfume.

Tech. Sgt. Ashley Trim is part of a small percentage of women in the U.S. Air Force who prove maintenance is not just for men.

Trim was a munitions technician with the 1st Maintenance Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, during her first enlistment.

However, being a woman in a male-dominated career field was not always easy for Trim.

“When I was struggling with postpartum depression, nobody around me knew what I was going through,” said Trim, who is now a unit training manager for the Air Force Special Operations School. “So, I wanted to provide an outlet for people to connect and realize they are not alone and that they go through the same things as other women across the maintenance Air Force Specialty Codes.”

Thus, Trim created the Women of Maintenance committee.

The Committee

It is the first of its kind at Hurlburt Field, and their first meeting was Nov. 24, 2020. The committee is comprised of six women and a male representative who is a first sergeant.

The committee’s primary focus is helping women in maintenance feel supported by providing a forum to network, share experiences, find mentors and learn about resources.

“Our hope for the Women of Maintenance is that it can be a group that empowers women and men, improving the culture of maintenance, to be a career field we would want our children, brothers or sisters to join,” said committee member Maj. Carrie Kerner, commander of the 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

To achieve this, everyone in maintenance is invited to attend the monthly meetings, including men and women of all ranks. Even if they may never experience some of the issues that are discussed, they can gain a new perspective and learn how to respond if their Airman needs help, just as Kerner explained it has done for her.

“Everybody brings something to the table that we can learn from,” said Kerner. “I can’t personally relate to the challenges of being married mil-to-mil, being pregnant while on active duty or having children, but being on the committee and attending the meetings has given me a new perspective and will help me to better relate to, and take care of, our Airmen.”

The thought of Airmen receiving the support they need from their leadership, and one another, made Trim’s heart swell, and she smiled as she recalled previous meetings.

“I am proud of where I came from in maintenance,” she said. “I am proud to be a woman of maintenance.”