Skip to main content (Press Enter).
Air Force Reserve Command
Air Force Reserve Command
HQ AFRC News
Why It Matters
Enl Force Development
Profiles in Leadership
Airman & Family
The Force Matters
Units by State
Women's History Month Spotlight: Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Woods
By Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens, 403rd Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 29, 2016
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Woods, is an aerial reconnaissance weather officer with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" here.
Her interest in serving in the military started when she was a young girl in junior high and high school, where she first explored the options of attending one of the various military academies. Even though her family had no military background, they still guided and motivated her to pursue those options. Upon graduating from high school, she received a full Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship through the Air Force. She instead decided to attend college at the University of Miami, Florida, where she graduated and was commissioned in 1999.
Woods said that she recognizes and appreciates the struggles her grandmothers' generation went through for women's rights, and that she feels very grateful to serve in a time where she is treated both professionally and equally in the military. For her, gender was never an issue in her Air Force career from the time she first joined until now.
"To be completely honest, I have never felt anything but equal to everybody else, and I think that's one of the many things the military has done a really good job at. The military has always led the way when it came to social issues, whether it was race or males and females, and I've always felt good about it," said Woods.
This feeling carries over to her views on the role models she has had in her life, citing both men and women who had an influence on how she arrived where she is today.
"I don't think of it like that, to be totally frank. It's just people that I would like to emulate," said Woods about her role models. "It doesn't really have anything to do with whether they're male or female."
Woods did note one Air Force officer, Col. Mary Lockhart (retired), a reservist who mentored her during her early career while on active duty.
"Over the years she did a really good job of influencing my way of thinking, the way I interact with people, and my basic management principles," said Woods. "She definitely gave me the confidence to realize that it never hurts to ask (for assistance or information)."
Woods' last assignment during her six years on active duty was at Keesler, where she served as an instructor at the base's weather school, not too far from where the Hurricane Hunters' building was located. After learning about the ARWO position, she decided that she wanted to take part in the Hurricane Hunter mission and interview for the job. She said she felt fortunate that her career path led her to serve as an ARWO with Hurricane Hunters.
"I am lucky enough to be in a squadron where we have such an incredibly unique mission.... to have an opportunity to do something this amazing," said Woods about the 53rd WRS and their mission to fly into storms to gather weather data.
While she noted that her experience in the military has been positive regarding interactions between men and women, she recognizes that it is not like that in other places, and other militaries, across the globe. One experience that made her more aware of this occurred while she was taking part in her first Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour, a joint effort between the National Hurricane Center and the Hurricane Hunters that promotes hurricane awareness and preparedness throughout the different nations in the Caribbean.
"There was this group of school girls that came in, and I was in uniform and speaking to the crowd, and one of the little girls came up to me afterward and said, 'They really do let you do this?'" said Woods. "That changed my entire perspective! I can tell you that I had never felt more proud to be an American in my life, because I realized at that point how lucky I was that I feel no gender difference, and how there is still a huge gender difference throughout the world."
For women still facing those differences, Woods offered the following encouragement.
"I believe that anyone with a good work ethic will eventually succeed in life. It's not about being the smartest, it's not about being the most popular, it's about whether you have a good work ethic. If you do, everything eventually will even out," said Wood.
Woods said she feels fortunate to serve in the military and be in a career field she loves. She recalled her first storm mission as an ARWO with the Hurricane Hunters and the awe she felt at that time, which has stayed with her to this day.
"I remember my first flight through a hurricane - it was a Category 3, and it had the stadium effect," said Woods, referring to how the clouds circling the eye of a hurricane slope upwards like the inside of a stadium. "It was absolutely beautiful in the eye. I remember, when I was in that storm, thinking that if there was ever a day where I did not appreciate the beauty of this, then I needed to quit."
So far, that day has yet to come.
From small town to touring internationally with the F-35
AFRC Recruiter builds major relationship with minor league team
Lima Charlie: Yellow Ribbon keeps couples’ communication clear
Recruiting legend retires
Distance no obstacle for Pacific reservists desiring Yellow Ribbon training
Team building frames security forces sendoff of top enlisted leader
Passing on a few of life’s important lessons
Transitions: Reserve helps Airman find balance she craves
Lessons from failure
Challenging conventional wisdom with creative messages
STEAM Challenge encourages innovation - https://t.co/vUemzMKdpF https://t.co/B0eH2cQuY1
Reserve members in a paid status who have accrued fewer than 4,320 retirement points as of December 31, 2017 are gr… https://t.co/M9y4Z7Gmyb
Flight Engineer passes rare milestone - https://t.co/PZbc5Mb8hC Via @grandslamwing https://t.co/XStJ4KUewG
Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee and @afrc_ccc Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly have outlined their new vision and mission pri… https://t.co/lcsq3iYvOH
Today, we honor the service & sacrifices of our veterans. Throughout American history, men & women from all walks o… https://t.co/WuFeYoKqcC
RT @ESGR: 15 mins of your time could mean a prestigious award for your exceptional Guard & Reserve employer. Nominations close Dec 31 for t…
Surprise reunion - https://t.co/7bu6J6PdhL https://t.co/DplgdvDCwn
#Reservists credit teamwork in lifesaving mission - https://t.co/IX3cxYvmpF via @315AW https://t.co/G24kEL9vfO
RT @AirmanMagazine: CMSAF Kaleth Wright defines resiliency as the ability to move through the hardships and storms of life. Airmen at @Tea…
Reservists have until Dec. 31 to opt into #BlendedRetirement System - https://t.co/IRjbRUtDlN
#AFRC Recruiter’s training, quick response saves teen’s life - https://t.co/pn8d3TYX37 https://t.co/6tF4HUHs86
AF Reserve announces 2018 Air Force PACE Award nominees - https://t.co/Peq6avebAv
The free Wings Over Homestead Air and Space Show starts tomorrow! Stay tuned for updates this weekend. https://t.co/8HFhYzCXz6
Spending the Holidays at Home this Year: 944th Airman return to Phoenix - https://t.co/q2a1N64F4L https://t.co/TYOMaFmhMC
Reserve maintainers take part in @usairforce light attack experiment - https://t.co/Eg8W441EBh via @442dFighterWing https://t.co/oWK0S73cGv
The free Wings Over Homestead Air Reserve Base is happening this weekend! Are you going? Click the Facebook event l… https://t.co/JdnJbSVuy8
Reserve Citizen Airmen prepare for human spaceflight - https://t.co/UQ8kmYdYHv via @920thRescueWing https://t.co/XB8bio07rG
Reserve crew flies B-1B involved in May IFE - https://t.co/uaox5kqdXX https://t.co/A0HHWBF6DM
Turtles’ stadium flyover helps kick off @Jaguars game - https://t.co/5ul5nRfQNJ via @315AW https://t.co/QPPRIPjwBV
#AFRC activates first ISR Wing - https://t.co/ypQvnjXwI8 https://t.co/un3CVbtgTq
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and First Lady Deborah Bryant (first row, fourt...
The 2018 Gen. Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award nominee for #AFRC is from th...
AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters assist with monsoon research - http://www.afrc.af.m...
#ReserveCitizenAirmen support SpaceX resupply rocket launch - http://www.afrc.af...
East Central Georgia IRT teams arrive - http://www.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Disp...
AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly Tropical Storms #Beryl, #Chris - http://www.afr...
Congratulations to the award winners!
Check out the teaser for "A Pilot's Journey." This short film will premiere at E...
In the latest issue of Princeton Magazine, the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint ...
For the latest updates on the MAFFS - Air Expeditionary Group mission visit the ...
#ICYMI: Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence flew into Grissom ...
Elinor Otto, America's longest working "Rosie the Riveter", will be featured on ...
Today we, as a nation, celebrate July 4 as our Independence Day! Please have saf...
Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, #AFRC Deputy Commander, being interviewed at the Warne...
Come back at 8:20 P.M. EST to watch Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, #AFRC Deputy Comma...
#Reservist helps brand Air Force Reserve at NBA Finals game - http://www.afrc.af...
Tune into 13 WMAZ today at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for live interviews and updates fro...
Reserve #C130s support #Colorado firefighting efforts - http://www.afrc.af.mil/N...
Air Force Social Media Guide (PDF)
USAF Social Media Sites