State senator joins Team Vance to celebrate Women’s History Month

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- More than 80 Team Vance members attended the Women’s History Month breakfast held at the Vance Club March 28.

Oklahoma State Senator Anastasia Pittman was the guest speaker.

The breakfast began with the national anthem, followed by an invocation by Chaplain (Capt.) Eugene Ansah.

“May they (women) continue to lead from the front, inspiring moral courage and fortitude,” said Ansah. “May they be recognized, not only for their unwavering commitment within the family, but also for their memorable achievements and contributions to their respective fields and areas of influence.”

“Working to form a more perfect union, honoring women in public service and government,” was the theme for this year’s Women’s History month.

Senior Vance leaders attending the breakfast included Col. Fred Cunningham, 71st Flying Training Wing vice commander; Col. John Cinnamon, 71st Operations Group commander; Col. Kirsten Benford, 71st Medical Group commander; Col. Dwayne LaHaye, 71st Mission Support Group commander; and Chief Master Sgt. Peter Speen, 71st FTW command chief.

Senator Pittman spoke of her experiences as an Honorary Commander at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. She flew onboard a KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling mission and discovered Meals, Ready to Eat.

“I didn’t realize that Tabasco sauce came in such a small quantity,” she said. And she learned that the packets of peanut butter in an MRE are valuable negotiation tools.

Pittman spoke of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, who in 1941 while touring the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, asked Charles Alfred Anderson to take her up in an airplane. Anderson, the father of African-American aviation, took Roosevelt for a 40-minute flight over the Alabama countryside.

“It took a courageous woman, a first lady, the president’s wife, to change the course of history,” said Pittman. “But I stand before you today, saying that sometimes ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”

She brought laughter from the audience when she added, “I long to see the day when men can do absolutely everything a woman can do.

“I’ve seen men do lots of great things. I’ve even seen them do their daughters’ hair,” Pittman said. “Doesn’t mean it looked good, but they got it done.”

Then she addressed the men at the breakfast.

“I want you to be mindful, that the women in uniform, the women who serve alongside you – she’s not going to leave you behind. She’s been proving that to you long before she was even allowed to join the military.

“Sometimes the wind beneath your wings is a woman in the shadows, in the background,” she said.

Pittman urged all those at the breakfast to help the next generation of women. “When young girls come into your presence, encourage them. Leadership matters. Mentorship matters. Your experiences matter.”

Master Sgt. Latanya Benson, head of the Women’s History Month committee, presented Pittman a token of appreciation for speaking at the breakfast.

The vice commander, in his closing remarks for the breakfast, thanked the Women’s History Month committee for their work and the club for the breakfast buffet.

“I charge everyone, men and women alike, to take note of who those special women are in your lives,” Cunningham said. “Use today as an opportunity to go out and say thank you to those women instrumental in making all of us who we are.”

Senior Airman James Atwell was the master of ceremony for the event.

The Club’s buffet breakfast included pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, biscuits and gravy and potatoes.