Her Stories

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The 96th Test Wing spotlights five women Airmen working in predominantly male career fields in a series of three portraits over the next three days.  This series is in conjunction with the upcoming Women's Equality Day Aug. 26. 2023  These five women represent firefighters, security forces and explosive ordnance disposal.


Rank, Name, Title: Staff Sgt. Baylee Hancock

Hometown, State: Warren, Pennsylvania

Why did you join the Air Force? I have a long line of military family members. I have a twin brother who joined the Air Force who is stationed at McConnell AFB, Kansas. I am the first female in my family to join. I hold tremendous pride in the “US Air Force” name tape on the left side of my chest. The Air Force has so many things to offer, I chose to take advantage of opportunities such as college, career, and country.

What made you choose fire? I saw the challenge and opportunity and decided I was going to challenge myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. As a firefighter, you are called to assist people on the potential worst days of their lives. If I can make an impact on one single person in this lifetime, I will feel that I have accomplished my goals.

What is your favorite part of the job? My favorite aspect of firefighting is the camaraderie and the relationships that are built between firemen. Living with your co-workers is a totally different environment than a typical 9-to-5 work center. You live half of your life with the people you work with, so they become a family away from home. I also love the people you meet along the way. There have been times where little kids have come up to me and remembered my face from responding to a call. The excitement and innocence on their face is what makes this job so rewarding.

Any comments or advice about being a woman in a male-dominated field? There will always be individuals who try to question your abilities in a male dominated field, but I have come to understand those are their own insecurities. The best advice I ever got was that I never had to “prove myself” to anyone. I went through the same technical training as all my male counterparts, and I deserved to be where I am. Work hard and let your work ethic speak for itself.

Any advice for young women/girls who are interested in fire and/or a male-dominated field? I have never worked with another female firefighter until I PCS’d to Eglin. Even now, the few I work with I have never been at the same station with. Something I always put into perspective is to not let anyone treat you differently. Work hard, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty, and ask questions if you are unaware.

Even in your toughest days, keep your head up, walk with confidence, keep grinding, and never lose sight of your reason you chose this career or who you are. Give every opportunity or event your all, and even if you make a mistake, know that at the end of the day, you gave everything in you. Everyone on your team or shift has something to offer, this career field is not a one-man job.

We are a team. I know I will never be as strong as some of my male counterparts, but it is not because of lack of trying. When you leave the threshold of the station doors, you are human like everyone else. Be the person you are destined to be, and you will crush anything you set your mind to.

Please visit Aug. 24 and 25 to see more of Her Stories.