Ramstein AB inspiring the next generation of service members to “Fly Like a Girl”

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eve Daugherty
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Over 900 Department of Defense Education Activity students from the Kaiserslautern Military Community attended a Fly Like a Girl event at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 20, 2024.

The 37th Airlift Squadron hosted the event with 15 units from Ramstein AB providing demonstrations, displays and a formation of four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for students, celebrating women in various Air Force career fields.

“The biggest thing for me is being able to include young men and women and showing them the opportunities that are out there,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kaylynn Butchko, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot. “If you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything in these fantastic career fields.”

This is the largest Fly Like a Girl event that Ramstein has hosted. Previous years featured female aircrews, but this year’s event included a career fair to help inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math in the military.

“A lot of our girls don't know what's out there for them,” said Michele Dubé, Baumholder Middle and High School teacher. “We have girls who are coming here specifically to see what the Air Force might be able to offer them.”

Displays included aircraft tours, maintainer for a day activities, self-defense, patrol vehicles, virtual fire trainer with extinguisher, spraying a low-pressure water hose, a K-loader and more.

During the event, approximately 120 paratroopers jumped from four C-130Js to the Ramstein AB drop zone. The jump included a jump team of nine women from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, 435th Air Expeditionary Wing, 86th Operations Support Squadron, the 5th Quartermaster Company and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

All four aircraft were operated by all-female aircrews. One of the four aircraft was launched by an all-female team of 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers.

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt Sydney Willis, 721st Aerial Port Squadron ramp services technician, volunteered to help teach students about her career field at the event.

“I'm glad to be a part of it,” said Willis. “I think it's a great way for other career fields to share what they do with each other, and for the students to see what we do – especially as women in the Air Force.”

Dubé also expressed deep appreciation for the event. Many of her students attended the event for the opportunity to visit the Air Force Academy booth and talk to recruiters.

“My message to the ladies is don’t let anyone discourage you from setting your goals,” said Butchko. “Dream as high as you possibly can.”