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Indiana Guardsman spearheads innovative maternity flight suit

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael E. Dixon, command chief, left, and Senior Airman Jacquline Graves, Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) journeyman, both assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, take part in a ceremony to present the Air National Guard Outstanding AFE Airman of the Year award and the Air Force Achievement Medal April 24, 2021. Graves received the awards for spearheading a maternity flight suit project, shifting the paradigm for female fitment and aviation across the entire Air Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Andras)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael E. Dixon, command chief, left, and Senior Airman Jacquline Graves, Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) journeyman, both assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, take part in a ceremony to present the Air National Guard Outstanding AFE Airman of the Year award and the Air Force Achievement Medal April 24, 2021. Graves received the awards for spearheading a maternity flight suit project, shifting the paradigm for female fitment and aviation across the entire Air Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Andras)

FORT WAYNE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind. - Senior Airman Jacquline Graves, an Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) journeyman assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, was awarded the Air National Guard Outstanding AFE Airman of the Year in addition to the Air Force Achievement Medal, April 24, 2021.

Graves completed a 90-day Active Duty Operational Support tour with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, spearheading a maternity flight suit project that provides mission capabilities for female aircrew. Graves also accomplished 357 flight equipment inspections while enhancing performance and sustaining life for more than 35 pilots, supporting 2,125 sorties and 3,255 flight hours.

"Not only has she done these duties for the entire Air Force, but her daily operations and what she does here at guard drill directly affects our lives, our families and our survival," said Col. Michael D. Stohler, 122nd Fighter Wing commander.

The uniform standard has always been a unisex approach until recently. Three years ago there was a huge initiative directed by Gen. David L. Goldfein, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, to begin developing equipment designed for female anthropometric measurements. As a result, Graves was brought in by the Air and Space Force uniform office to help design a new female maternity flight suit.

"She has had a direct impact, not only at the squadron level but all the way up to the Air Force level," said Chief Master Sgt. Theodore Angel, acquisition and sustainment chief for AFE and senior enlisted leader for the Agile Combat Support, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. "She's helped shift the paradigm for female fitment and aviation in our Air Force."

Additionally, Graves was awarded the 122nd Operations Group Airman of the Quarter and Airman of the Year, setting the tone of service and dedication as an example to junior enlisted Airmen and providing leadership, mentoring and support to Airmen across the entire group.

"This is one of the best AFE shops in the entire Air Force and I've seen a lot of them," said Angel.

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