OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
The 55th Wing’s inaugural Warhawk Athena conference happened on Offutt Air Force Base Sept. 26-29, 2022. This conference brings together Air National Guardsmen, reservists, active duty Airmen, and civilians from all ranks and work centers who share a common bond of improving the Air Force for Airmen now and in the future.
Warhawk Athena follows the model of Air Combat Command’s Sword Athena, which is a working group of volunteers from across ACC that come together to identify, tackle and propose solutions to female and family centric barriers to readiness. Offutt established its local group to aid Team Offutt members and their families in advancing solutions which will improve their lives.
“There are barriers that exist across the installation affecting members of all ranks, all units, and all genders,” said Capt. Marisa Patterson, 55th Wing commander’s action group. “It is important that Offutt members participate because not only are they solving real problems, but they’re also bringing to light concerns that affect people across Offutt AFB and the Air Force.”
Some of the barriers the attendees discussed rentable maternity uniforms, child development center 2 drop off, post-intervention mental health, on base transportation, transportation and after hours care for childcare, deployed vehicle care, free feminine hygiene products in restrooms, on base haircare for all hair types, and public restroom access at the parade grounds.
“Without people identifying these concerns, we would not be able to work towards solutions,” Patterson said. “Airmen’s voices are absolutely being heard and our amazing participants are working hard to break down these barriers.”
Team Offutt members voiced their concerns to some of the wing’s group commanders and chiefs during the conference. Senior Airman Jacob Towry, 55th Maintenance Group scheduler, and his group was able spoke with leadership on the importance of having a facility that can care for various types of hair. It was an eye-opening experience for him, and he learned what some women must do to stay mission ready when it comes to hair care.
“It is always great when you get some face time with the commanders to share our views and our concerns with anything that can make the base or Airmen lives better,” Towry said. “It has been eye opening for me because if you don’t have these issues personally, you don’t understand or appreciate how big of an issue they are to others.”
Anyone interested in joining Warhawk Athena can contact Capt. Cara Leaf (email@example.com) and Master Sgt. Aubree Woodworth (Aubree.firstname.lastname@example.org).