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Being a woman in the military: Don’t worry about the boys club, ‘be confident in yourself'

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

Sarah Satkowiak (right) talks about what it's like to be a woman in the military.

We would like to shout-out to all the amazing and badass women in the world, especially those serving in our armed forces. This post is for you. We thank you. We see you. We appreciate all you do.

Many brave and bold women are serving in areas of the military that have previously been restricted to males only. Women have been allowed to serve in the Marines for decades, but not until 2016 have they been able to serve alongside men in combat.

Today we want to share Sarah Satkowiak's story as a service member of the National Guard.

Sarah is currently serving as a medic in the National Guard. In the last few years she was presented with the opportunity from the University of Michigan to obtain an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing for veteran medics and active duty medics in the military. Sarah has since graduated the program and now serves her community and country in both roles. Sarah is a Flint native, but now resides in Fenton, MI in her new home with her beautiful fiancé Tori.

Sarah pictured with her fiance Tori. Photo by Jen Veloso.

Sarah is one of the many women making radical changes to equality in predominantly male work forces. She enlisted in the National Guard in 2013 and left for a 10-week basic training in Oklahoma. After completing basic training, Sarah received her medic training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Once Sarah completed her medic program she was given her first unit assignment, the 1171st ASMC (Area Medical Company) in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

We really wanted to capture what Sarah has learned over the years in her own words.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your experiences.

What kind of advice would you give to women that are in rolls typically filled by men?

"I think the best way to be in the 'boys club' is to know what you’re doing and to be confident in yourself. Be willing to ask questions and ready to learn. From my experiences people who usually doubt your abilities off of how you look or your first encounter with them usually change their attitude when they see your expertise in that subject. And if that person still doesn't like you or doesn't like a woman in the role than I usually just brush it off. It’s not worth that extra energy to prove yourself to someone that you’re competent in what you do. Especially if the other people alongside of you don't have to continually display their attributes of why they are sufficient in normally male filled roles. In higher risk jobs like the military, civil service etc., everyone just wants to be assured that you have their backs. You don’t have to be a know-it-all but know your role. If someone needs a medic they’re usually not yelling for a 'Male Medic!' They’re yelling for someone to save their life and that’s what should be taken seriously."

What is something that you’ve learned most throughout your journey of serving in the military?

"I’ve learned that the military and it service members are the greatest self sacrificing organization in the world. It works so well because you depend on the soldiers to your left and right to get their jobs done and to help keep you safe. Soldiers and leaders sacrifice their time to be better at their roles in uniform or to teach younger soldiers their jobs. There are so many jobs in the military that are all run simultaneously and intermingle with each set of soldiers relying on the other to complete their jobs that the mission can be complete. Whether that mission is firing shots down range at an enemy or ensuring a soldier’s wife has her health insurance covered for their soon-to-arrive baby. It’s highly efficient. It’s all volunteers. Your leadership might be screaming at you one minute to get your head out of your ass and do your fu***** job right, but they’re also the same people who would answer a phone call in the middle of the night to make sure you and your family were okay."

Photo by Jen Veloso

Sarah continues her education in the medical field as an emergency nurse at a level 1 trauma center. She is incredibly inspired by the women who serve with her and have led & pushed her to become who she is now. However, she doesn’t want to be defined by one part of her life. She has so many different sides to her and it was an honor to see who she is as a person and not just as a soldier. Outside of her medical professions she is a dedicated CrossFit competitor and major jokester. Sarah is also a...

Soldier. Fiancé. Nurse. Lover. Goofball. Daughter. A person you can trust.

Anytime spent with Sarah is a reminder of the beauty and bravery found in the spirit of brave women. We are thankful to be in a world where women like Sarah exist.

We continue to be inspired by women who choose to do what they love despite the pushback in their careers and private life.

As culture continues to shift and change, women like Sarah fight societal norms and give younger women a brighter future. To all the women in the military, we thank you for your service and sacrifice. To all the female veterans, we are proud and honored that you gave so much so that this generation could continue to fight the battle for equality. To the families of service members, your love and support have made all the difference.

Thank you to all the badass women out there serving and protecting our freedoms.

Written by: Jen Veloso

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