Women's History Month: General adds to family's military legacyBy Danielle GregoryTinker Public AffairsTINKER AIR FORCE BASE - March is Women's History Month and women have come a long way throughout history. Here at Tinker Air Force Base we are fortunate enough to have many outstanding professional women - military and civilian - who hold great significance in supporting the warfighter. As it happens with many people, , commander of the 76th Maintenance Wing was in college when she realized the career field she was meant to be in. What she did not realize at the time was that she would one day become one of a select few - a general officer in the United States Air Force. At the age of 20, she joined the Air Force, saying she felt like she needed to belong to a group after making the transition from a small town girl into a major university student. "One day I was in school and I saw a group of Reserve Officer Training Corps run by in formation and I thought, 'now that's where I belong,'" said General Fedder. Because General Fedder's father is retired military, her immediate family wasn't surprised by this step in her life. However, she said her hometown friends were very surprised and didn't think she would fit the mold. "One of my heroes as far as the military goes is my dad," the general said. "He was Army for 26 years and I learned to appreciate the life of service from him." That life of service has brought her to where she is today - one of a few female generals and commander of the 76th Maintenance Wing. She has become a role model for all women - military and civilian, according to wing members. "Her selection as commander of the largest maintenance wing in the Air Force, a historically male-dominated environment, is a tribute to her leadership and character," said Brenda Jones, chief of the 76th MXW's Financial Management Office. "She serves as an inspiration to all -- men and women -- with her logical calm leadership style and vision for the Air Force," said Bobbi LaRue, 545th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron director. General Fedder said she didn't aspire to come this far, she just aspired to do whatever her bosses did. She said she would observe what they were doing and try to learn what their job was. "I wanted to learn something from everyone," she said. Those under her leadership at Tinker are getting to learn from her today. "General Fedder's method of questioning allows her to gain understanding while guiding her people to constructively think outside the box," said Ginger Keisling, DMAG program analyst in the Business Operations Office. "This approach leads to a deeper understanding without being judgmental or condescending. She's a great leader who inspires her people to strive to achieve their greatest potential." Holding the leadership position that she is in now, General Fedder said she appreciates being on a team of professionals and serving people on that team. "Serving all Airmen and the flag is what drives me," she said. "When we look at people who are serving overseas and on the front lines, I know they can't really perform their mission unless we are all pulling to make sure they have what they need." General Fedder says she hopes to clear paths for future generations of women. "There are, fortunately, in the Air Force today, quite a few senior women who are serving. People should see this and know there are opportunities out there for everyone -- men and women," General Fedder said. "I believe everyone wants to do their best at whatever their job is. It is my job as a senior officer to help people be as successful as they can be." General Fedder said when Airmen put on the uniform and look in the mirror, they have to ask themselves, "Am I worthy to serve and lead?" "When I put on my uniform it makes me ask that question, and it forces me to stop and think about people's expectations of someone at my level, and whether I meet those expectations," she said. "I am very grateful to wear this uniform. People in uniform and people who wear civilian clothes are all serving. I thank them for the opportunity to serve them and serve with them." General Fedder's advice to those looking to advance is to excel in what they are doing now and know the job they're in is the most important job. "People will look to you for a job with greater responsibilities if you've excelled in your current duties," she said. "What is great about the Air Force are our core values," she continued. "We have people who really believe in them. What person wouldn't want to be part of a team whose core values are excellence, integrity and service? It is fulfilling a dream to still be a member of the Air Force."
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