Guest Editorial: Trailblazer In Arizona’s National Guard

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Rosie the Riveter – one of history’s most recognizable cultural (and feminist) icons since its inception in World War II with a message to women everywhere that “We Can Do It.”

Women have continued to play increasingly important roles in all branches of the U.S. military, as history can attest for more than 80 years. And Arizona is no exception.

Last week, Gov. Ducey appointed Brid. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck to serve as the first female leader of the Arizona National Guard – a major accomplishment for military women in Arizona. She will be replacing retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire.

After leaving active duty in 1977, Muehlenbeck joined the National Guard and went on to work as a civilian prosecutor in Arizona. She will now be responsible for over 8,000 guard members and employees of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. Picking up where her predecessor left off, Muehlenbeck will be continuing the state’s response to the pandemic including delivery of goods and services, build temporary medical facilities and provide supplies to the underserved Navajo Nation who continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19.

When asked about the historic nature of the appointment at a press conference, Muenhlenbeck tactfully and gracefully toed the line between feminist and professionalism by stating:

“The historical importance of being the first female adjutant general in Arizona is not lost on me. But I do hope that what I’ve done and who I am is more important than simply my sex.”

I, as well as many others, am supportive and honor by any service member that promises to protect and serve our nation and fights to make the world a safer place, both at home and abroad. They deserve our respect and praise.

But it’s milestones like these that highlight the brave women that blazed the path and all too often without the same recognition as their male peers, worked for less pay, overcome barriers and have fought to earn their place beside their fellow service members. It reminds us of how far we’ve come from the days of “Rosie the Riveter” to the first female leader of the Arizona National Guard. And how far we still have to go

Thank you, Brid. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck for your continued service and a reminder that “We Can Do It.”