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1st SOMUNS Airman supports 1st SOW combat capability

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rachael Rolling, an aircraft armament systems team member with the 1st Special Operations Munitions Squadron, poses for a portrait at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Mar. 23, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rachael Rolling, an aircraft armament systems team member with the 1st Special Operations Munitions Squadron, poses for a portrait at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Mar. 23, 2021. Aircraft armament systems team members fully disassemble M229 missile launchers and bomb racks, inspect all of the components, repair what is broken and reassemble the equipment for 1st Special Operations Wing inventory aircraft use. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --

Pieces of a missile launcher, all different shapes and sizes, are scattered on a table. For the machine to work properly, all of the parts must be assembled. The task may seem daunting to some, but for one aircraft armament systems team member, it’s like solving a puzzle.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rachael Rolling knows what she is capable of, and she wears her confidence like an accessory. She is a valued member of the 1st Special Operations Munitions Squadron.

“She is a force to be reckoned with,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Blanchard, armament maintenance section chief with the 1st SOMUNS. “She is tenacious and intelligent, wise beyond her rank and years, and she is passionate about helping others.”

Rolling is part of a team that fully disassembles M229 missile launchers and bomb racks. They inspect all of the components, repair what is broken and reassemble the equipment for 1st Special Operations Wing inventory aircraft use, directly supporting the combat capability of the wing.

“Women in male-dominated career fields sometimes adopt this mindset that we need to out-perform, we need to prove ourselves, and that’s a terrible mindset,” said Rolling. “We women have nothing to prove and so much to offer.”

Rolling said she loves what she does, mainly because of the people she works with. She described them as positive, supportive and inclusive, creating an enjoyable work environment.

“Maintenance is a place for technical experts of a truly vast breadth of experience, and gender has no bearing on the ability to be successful in this career field,” said Blanchard. “The ‘no girls allowed in my treehouse’ mentality is not in line with our core values, and people like Senior Airman Rolling are examples of what we gain without that mentality.”

All Airmen are unique, just like the pieces of the missile launcher. They offer different perspectives and skill sets. When they put their differences aside and work together, something powerful is created. The Air Force ‘puzzle’ is complete.