Post Written by Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Booker, Aviation Assignment Officer and one of the Coast Guard event coordinators
Over the weekend, Women’s History Month kicked off with a very successful Women in Aviation International Conference. Approximately 120 Coast Guard members converged on the conference in Orlando, Florida, to network with each other and with the diverse group of military and civilian aviation professionals.
The highlight of the conference was Saturday night’s banquet, at which Coast Guard Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, retired, was the first Coast Guard aviator to be inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame. Admiral Crea was nominated not only for her professional competence as an aviator and officer but also for her career-long dedication to mentoring junior women aviators. She was honored for her many accomplishments over the course of her distinguished career, including being one of the first two Coast Guard women to be designated Naval Aviators, the first female Coast Guard Aircraft Commander, the first female Commanding Officer of an Air Station, and the first female of any military service to reach the position of second in command.
The Coast Guard also sponsored several conference events including a Speed Mentoring Session. Mentors included Admiral Crea, Admiral Breckenridge, Admiral Landry, seven Air Station Commanding Officers, one Cutter Commanding Officer, and two aviation Chief Petty Officers. Following the speed mentoring session, the Coast Guard also sponsored a networking social and honored Petty Officer Monica Beacham, the only female aboard the C130 aircraft lost late last year.
For many years, the Coast Guard has been represented at the Women in Aviation International Conference. In the past two years, women aviators have worked to generate increased participation and support for this event as a prime venue for mentorship, networking and to learn from the rich aviation educational opportunities offered. With Coast Guard participation at more than double previous year attendance, the coordinators hope to maintain momentum and support for this professional growth opportunity.