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1st HS honors women’s suffrage centennial with flyover

By Airman 1st Class Bridgitte Taylor 316th Wing Public Affairs

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On Aug. 26, 1920, American women achieved full voting rights following the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1973, the U.S. Congress designated Aug. 26 “Women’s Equality Day.”

To commemorate 100 years of women’s right to vote, the 1st Helicopter Squadron here conducted a female-led flyover above the District of Columbia, Aug. 26, 2020.

“Today we’re executing an all-female formation flight to commemorate 100 years of women’s voting rights,” said Col. Anne-Marie Contreras, 316th Operations Group commander and one of the pilots for the flyover. “Along with our crew, we’re going to have two females on ground control, a first for Joint Base Andrews.”

The all-female crew served as a symbol, Contreras explained.

“I think the purpose of the all-female crew is to show that women can do anything,” said Contreras. “As women, we’ve come a long way from how things were 100 years ago.  Now, there’s female astronauts, pilots and ground controllers!”

After some briefings, planning and flight checks, it was time for take-off.

The two UH-1N “Huey” helicopters began the flight around 5:30 p.m., taking off from JBA and flying over the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Nationals Stadium and monuments such as the Washington Monument and United States Capitol.

The hour-long flight also marked the beginning of a Major League Baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies as the 1st HS flew over Nationals Park.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this flyover and it’s an honor to be a part of this unit in general,” said Capt. Jennie Seibert, 316th Wing executive officer and a pilot for the flyover. “This is one of the more special things I’ve gotten to do here at JBA; we’re able to influence younger women and broaden their perceptions.”

However, JBA was not alone in celebrating this historic day. Many sites in Washington, D.C., including the White House, National Archives and Smithsonian museums were illuminated in the official suffrage colors: purple, gold and white. Aside from this local recognition, a total of 300 sites nation-wide honored the women’s suffrage centennial.