USAF AIR BATTLE MANAGER CAPTAIN DANA ARRIETA SPEAKS AT MGC
(Cochran, GA) - Captain Dana Arrieta spoke to Middle Georgia College students, faculty, and community members March 21 about her experiences as a female aviator. The event was sponsored by MGC Multicultural Affairs.
Arrieta is an Air Battle Manager with the United States Air Force and is currently stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base.
Growing up, Arrieta's parents had a big influence on her. Her father served in the Air Force for 24 years, but Arrieta had no interest until high school, where she participated in the Junior ROTC and Drill Team. At the University of Illinois, Arrieta participated in ROTC to help pay for school and contracted for Air Battle Manager after graduation.
Air Force careers are separated into operations and support, explained Arrieta. "Operations are out there doing the job, and support is in the background, making it happen." Arrieta works on a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTAR), which is an aircraft that tracks ground vehicles and some aircraft, gathers images, and transmits pictures to ground and air theater commanders.
JSTAR is used to expand the line of communication, and is best when used with other sources, said Arrieta. JSTAR provides near real time or post mission analysis, and allows for interference. "It if moves, we can see it and can send someone to kill it," she said.
JSTAR is also used in personal recovery missions and as support for open water and sea operations.
For students who are trying to decide whether or not to join the military, Arrieta spoke about its positives. "There are job security, benefits, and leadership skills that you learn without realizing it," she said.
There is no set path in college that will get you into the military, said Arrieta, who has a political science degree. "It's more what you want to get out of college," she said. "There isn't one item that gets you what you need." As a woman in the military, Arrieta said it is up to you to say how you want to be treated. "It's how you react." she said. "It doesn't matter what career you're in, or whether you're male or female."
Multicultural Advisor Coordinator Crystal Allen - Joyner said the event went well. "Dana gave a lot of info, and it was a great career exploration for many who may not have considered it before."
MGC student Khirri Virgil said he enjoyed Arrieta's speech. "It was extremely informative about women in the aviation industry," he said. "It's interesting because she's young in such a high position."