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111th ATKW leaders featured during Women’s History Month event at local high school

  • Published
  • By Jon Dahms
  • 111th Attack Wing

BIDDLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Pa. -- Two commanders from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard were the featured speakers at a Women’s History Month event hosted by the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Bensalem High School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania on March 15, 2022.

Air National Guard officers Col. Rebecca A. Gray, 111th Attack Wing Vice Commander, and Col. Christine E. Munch, 111th Mission Support Group Commander, both based at Biddle Air National Guard Base in Horsham, Pennsylvania, discussed highlights from their military careers with cadets, students and BHS staff in attendance at the event.

“The purpose of the event was to acknowledge and honor women leaders across the community, the commonwealth and the country and to gain valuable insights from two esteemed leaders in Colonel Gray and Colonel Munch,” said Marine Col. John C. Church Jr. (USMC-Retired), Head of the Leadership Studies Department and Senior Marine Instructor at BHS.

The event opened with the BHS MCJROTC cadets all-woman color guard posting the colors and a resounding rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the all-woman BHS Choral Group, Femineus Vocalis.

After an introduction by Cadet Alayna Schnorbus (cadet executive officer), Gray and Munch took the stage and discussed the highlights from both their careers, the challenges they faced and the many ways you can serve our nation. They closed with a question and answer session and spent some one-on-one time with the cadets both before and after the event.

“We were honored to participate in this event and impressed with the pride and professionalism these young cadets exemplified in planning and executing this event,” said Munch. “It’s quite evident that Bensalem has a strong JROTC program, one which can positively affect their lives for years to come."

VIPs in the audience included Kenneth Wong, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Eastern Pennsylvania, and Peter Chong, Deputy District Director for U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (1st District, Pennsylvania).

After the event, Church made a heartfelt remembrance of a fellow Marine, Maj. Megan McClung, first female United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat during the Iraq War, and a woman who is part of the fabric of the history of women in the U.S. military.

“It is so important for our cadets to learn the Major McClung story and those of scores of other women leaders in the military and the civilian world,” Church said. “In the future, these cadets will need strong leaders like Meg.”

After the official ceremony, Gray received a certificate and flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol from Congressman Fitzpatrick, presented by Chong. The flag and certificate were presented to Gray in recognition “For your work in empowering the next generation of female leaders and your dedicated service to our country” the certificate reads.

“It was a privilege to attend this remarkable event,” said Col. Rebecca A. Gray, Vice Commander of the 111th ATKW. “It was truly an honor for us to be a small part of this event and we look forward to future opportunities to partner together, whether at Bensalem or Biddle Air National Guard Base.”