MX officer breaks biases

  • Published
  • By Airman Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Women have been able to enlist in the U.S. Air Force for 74 of its 75-year history, but still only 20.9% of the force is female. Capt. Victoria Gaines, 790th Maintenance Squadron Director of Operations, is one of those females and is proud to be an Airman. 

“I knew pretty early on that I wanted to join the military,” said Gaines. “Now I am coming up on my nine-year anniversary of being in the Air Force.” 

As the director of operations, Gaines and her Airmen are responsible for the maintenance of the wing’s support equipment and vehicles. They also are responsible for the scheduling of major maintenance operations and a 24/7 operations center. In broad terms, Gaines helps her squadron support the other maintenance squadron and helps the 90th Missile Wing accomplish its nuclear deterrence mission. 

“Every day is a new challenge,” said Gaines. “I love getting to help our Airmen with whatever challenges they encounter or we encounter as a team.”

Working in a male-dominated career field can be intimidating, according to Gaines. Some work atmospheres may even have an unconscious bias present toward women, because it is a job women aren’t typically known for. 

“Women aren’t expected to know much about maintenance,” said Gaines. “Sometimes I feel like I have to prove myself to my male counterparts and show them I belong here too.”

Gaines’s piece of advice to a little girl who has big dreams is, “love yourself, believe in yourself and you can achieve it all!”