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The Sky’s the Limit: The Women of D.C. National Guard Army Aviation

(Story and Photo By Master Sgt. Arthur Wright | Cpl. Marquita Chase, avionic mechanic, District of Columbia Army National Guard)
DVIDS Article:

Story by Master Sgt. Arthur Wright  DC National Guard  

“We really are a hub in the region—so much in aviation really does include us or simply starts here,” Staff Sgt. Lynum said. “We’re here and we’re relevant.”
Relevant and diverse. In addition to a dynamic presence in the National Capital Region, DCARNG Aviation is comprised of four different units with women visibly represented in all sections to include pilots, maintainers, supply, operations, administration, and flight paramedics.
“Women play a significant part leading in every aspect of our mission,” Staff Sgt. Lynum said. “Of course, there are other units who don’t have the same level of representation, but we have it—different genders, ages, colors, backgrounds—that’s what makes us stronger as a team.”
Proudly serving alongside Staff Sgt. Lynum is CW2 Christopher Alora, an operations officer at the D.C. National Guard Aviation Support Facility, who believes women in aviation today are still blazing trails for modern Soldiers, and bridging the gap between those who paved the way before them and those who will follow in their footsteps.
“It’s important to see women in positions and roles where they can be role models for younger women who want to reach these positions or climb even higher,” CW2 Alora said. “Under-representation in aviation is disappointing. Women have proved themselves not only in combat and support roles, but in aviation roles. Some of our best aviators have been women, and I hope the numbers increase every year not only in the Army, but across the Armed Forces.”
Sentiments echoed by CW2 Lauren A. Bloch, UH-60 medevac instructor pilot, Detachment 2 Company G 2-104th GSAB. She initially enlisted in military as a flight medic and achieved her dream role as a warrant officer.
“Globally, people still see the U.S. military as male-dominated—it’s important to highlight women in different positions that have historically changed and are still changing,” CW2 Bloch said. “Aviation, for example, is a field that’s male-dominated but there’s women like me who are contributing to the overall mission, and our history. Just in my time as a warrant officer alone I’ve been able to see women go through U.S. Army Ranger School and enter positions that previously were denied to them. It’s an exciting time to serve as a woman and inspire young girls to seriously explore all possibilities the military affords.”
Meanwhile, CW2 Jennifer A. Smith, UH-72 pilot, Alpha Company 1-224th Aviation Regiment, is more focused on behavioral health and retention.
“It’s definitely a challenging job being a Citizen Soldier and a pilot,” CW2 Smith said. “I’m a licensed social worker and I recognize significant life changes through an aviation career are inevitable. Relocations, deployments, marriages, divorces, deaths, and other major events can interrupt the aircrew member’s daily equilibrium.”
CW2 Smith recently wrote about these challenges in an article for Army Aviation Magazine. She calls being a conduit for behavioral health and community services an honor.
“I don’t just do check-in when a crisis happens—prevention and resources are key. You can’t march on an empty stomach or fly without gas,” she said.
Today’s DCARNG Aviation spans a variety of missions spanning humanitarian relief and reconnaissance and observation in support of counter-narcotic operations and drug interdiction support. U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Angeli Viyar, Company First Sergeant standardizations instructor/senior flight medic, Delta Company 1-224th Aviation Regiment believes continued modernization of the force requires a more diversified one.
“We have growing demographics in the military and it’s important for us to advocate for ourselves,” she said. “Right now, the sky’s and limit and it’s only what you set your limits to.”

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