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Air Force celebrates Women's History Month

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Throughout history, women in the military have made significant contributions. This is especially true in the Air Force whether they are flying B-1B Lancers or commanding thousands of Airmen.

Women's History Month officially started in March 2000 by order of President Clinton when he signed a presidential proclamation highlighting women of the past and future. He encouraged all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities, and to remember throughout the year the many contributions of courageous women who have made this nation strong.

Some of women's greatest accomplishments include everything from Mary Bethune's struggle to start the first school for black women to Alice Paul's fight for women to vote. One notable Air Force woman is astronaut Lt. Col. Eileen Collins.

Colonel Collins first flew the space shuttle in 1955, and became the first female commander of a space shuttle. Colonel Collins also became the first astronaut to fly the space shuttle through a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver. This was necessary so astronauts aboard the international space station could take photographs of the shuttle's belly to ensure there was no threat from debris-related damage to the shuttle upon re-entry. Encyclopedia Britannica recognized her as one of the top 300 women in history.

In the observance of "Women's History Month" in March, Air Force designers created and posted photos and posters for anyone to use. Anyone wishing to download a copy can visit

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