Corps arms aviation community with information
By Staff Sgt. Pauline L. Franklin
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | February 23, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. --
The Marine Corps gathered with aviation professionals and enthusiasts to help promote women in aviation career fields during a conference February 15 to 17 at Walt Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Women in Aviation, International hosted the annual national conference to encourage women in all aspects of aviation, from pilots to airport managers, maintenance technicians and many other occupations. The Marine Corps Recruiting Command set up a pull-up challenge and information booth at this year’s conference to explain opportunities in Marine aviation.
“This conference allows us to build relationships with people in the aviation industry, educate people and explain the opportunities we have in Marine aviation,” said KC-130 Hercules pilot Capt. Charlie A. Pickett, aviation assistant for officer procurement, 8th Marine Corps District.
Women in Aviation, International, which is open to men and women, draws together aerospace companies, manufacturers, individuals and colleges and universities to increase diversity in the aviation industry, according to Amy Laboda, press secretary for Women in Aviation, International. The non-profit organization does this through scholarships, mentoring, networking opportunities and education programs for young people at the national and local levels.
Female and male pilots represented the Corps at the Marine booth to share their experiences and answer questions.
“People know about the Marine uniforms, but they don’t know what aircraft we fly and what we do,” explained Maj. Sarah M. Deal, a reserve pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-769 in California. “Aviation colleges need to know there’s more than just the Air Force. It’s a great venue to get that word out.”
The conference also allowed the Marines to highlight the Corps as a viable option for women in aviation. Less than 6 percent of the nation’s 700,000 active pilots are women, and women account for only 2.13 percent of the 540,000 non-pilot aviation jobs in the U.S., according to Federal Aviation Administration statistics quoted on the Women in Aviation, International web site.
Major Jenifer E. Nothelfer, who flew CH-46E Sea Night helicopters on active duty and is now serving in the Individual Ready Reserves, said the Marine Corps offers women the chance to have a career in aviation, as well as the opportunity to join the Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps is the best; it’s an elite organization,” she explained. “We want good women who are qualified and want to do this.”
The conference included seminars, discussion groups, FAA training and exhibits, such as the Marine Corps’ booth. Attendees such as Robin L. Mikols, a Kansas State University at Salina senior, said the conference was very useful.
“I came here to network and talk to people about jobs,” said 20-year-old Mikols. “You always hear about the airlines hiring, but I wanted to see what the military has to offer as well. I’ve done a lot of research on aviation in the military and for airlines. I’m keeping all my options open right now.”
In addition to reaching out to prospective applicants, the conference was important in overcoming perceptions some people have about the Marine Corps as well.
Pickett said people are often intimidated by Marines because of their serious nature and image, which prevents them from hearing about prospects the Corps has to offer. The booth allowed the Marines to talk to potential applicants and those who influence and inform them in the aviation community without that feeling of intimidation, according to Pickett.
“The Marine Corps’ biggest enemy is a public lack of knowledge,” said Pickett. “Some people have preconceived notions about recruiters, which blocks the information we are trying to get out. Many people don’t even know we have Marine aviation or that we can guarantee aviation jobs. This conference allows us to interact with people on a different level and provide that information to them.”
For more information about Marine aviation, or other career opportunities, visit www.Marines.com or call 1-800-Marines.