Her Stories (Part 3) Published Aug. 25, 2023 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. Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The EOD technicians (in the order they appear in the image) Rank, Name, Title: Master Sgt. Andrea R. Rasmussen, EOD Training Section Chief Hometown, State: Tucson, Arizona Why did you join the Air Force? I joined to travel the world, get out of my hometown, and do something with my life. The education benefits was a nice bonus. What made you choose EOD? I told the Air Force Liaison at MEPS I wanted to do a job that allowed me to be hands on and not sit at a desk all day, every day. EOD was on the list of 10 jobs he suggested so after talking with a local EOD tech I just knew I needed to put it at the top of my list. What is your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job will always be getting to get my hands dirty and blowing something up, but second to that is being able to mentor and teach the younger techs coming in about the job and life in general. What is the most challenging aspect of the job? While it is physically and mentally demanding, the most challenging aspect of my job at this time is knowing which battles are worth picking while also standing my ground and ensuring my voice is heard. Everyone in the career field is opinionated and believes they are right, so getting heard through all those voices can often times be a struggle. Any comments or advice about being a woman in a male-dominated field? 1) Being one of the guys is cool and fun, but don’t change who you are or what you believe to fit in. 2) Embrace the women around you and build each other up; these can be some of the best relationships if you allow them to flourish. 3) Know your boundaries and stick to them. Any advice for young women/girls who are interested in EOD and/or a male-dominated field? If you can accept that it is going to be hard, are willing to put in the work, and understand that you will more than likely need to work harder than your male peers, do it. It is not for everyone, but it will challenge you in ways you never could have imagined and you will learn so much about yourself along the way. Rank, Name, Title: Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Quasnitschka, IEDs Instructor Hometown, State: Fairbanks, Alaska Why did you join the Air Force? Like many of my fellow Airmen, I wanted a challenge! What made you choose EOD? To be honest, I wasn't sure what EOD was before I joined. My father had served 20 years in the Air Force as a personnelist and when I decided to put on the uniform, I asked him what jobs he thought were the best fit for me. He replied, "I'd be happy with you in any of them, except EOD. Those people are crazy." Two days later I walked into the recruiter's office and demanded an EOD contract and I've never looked back. I found my crazy. What is your favorite part of the job? The family I've found. The community within EOD is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The men and women I work with are more than coworkers, they truly are my family. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can trust them with my life. What is the most challenging aspect of the job? I've had a very blessed career with many wonderful leaders, but being a mother in such a demanding career field always presents challenges. Before I had my son, I was the first to volunteer for TDYs, itching for the opportunity for deployments, and not batting an eye at late nights, or physically and mentally exhausting training- throwing a 3 year old into the mix brings another layer of complications. Any comments or advice about being a woman in a male-dominated field? Simply, we're not one of the guys. We are women in a career field that NEED women. We bring a different viewpoint and perspective to every shop we're in, and although it's tempting to act like one of the men, we don't need to do that. We can hold our own. Any advice for young women/girls who are interested in fire and/or a male-dominated field? Do it! Take the leap, and you just might find exactly what you're looking for. Rank, Name, Title: Master Sgt. Giselle D. Irr, Flight Chief, 366th Training Squadron Detachment 3 Hometown, State: Long Beach, California Why did you join the Air Force? I walked into a recruiting office one day out of mere curiosity and walked out with an ASVAB test date. Though an impulsive decision, it’s one of the best I’ve ever made. What made you choose EOD? I wanted a challenge, an adventure, and to serve. Removing dangerous ordnance from a battlefield to save lives met all my crazy life goals. What is your favorite part of the job? The people I work with! The ladies and gents I work with are some of the most inspiring, inventive, funniest, and courageous people on this planet. (I’m hoping saying nice things about them will save me some rounds of cheer) What is the most challenging aspect of the job? The most challenging aspect is the dynamic nature of war. The fight is always changing, and technological advances bring new challenges. We must grow and adapt, which isn’t always easy, but it does keep things interesting for EOD techs. Any comments or advice about being a woman in a male-dominated field? See below. Any advice for young women/girls who are interested in EOD and/or a male-dominated field? Build a community for support and connection. Fix each other’s crowns! Work hard, stay focused and handle challenges with tact and a sense of humor. We are all rooting for you!