Voices of the VaANG: Staff Sgt. Jonquil Willard

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
  • 192nd Wing

“Being in ammo is like a subculture within a subculture, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The job, the people, the atmosphere. We’re removed from the rest of the base, and we have our own way of doing things out here. It’s very family oriented.

I’m the first and only female in my family to serve in the military. I came in because I was looking to travel, and I got to do just that. I came from a very small town, but I’ve been very blessed to have seen Europe, Asia and different parts of the U.S. I’d never been to.

I got my whole fill of traveling when I was active duty. Then, when we came to Langley, I loved what I saw with the Guard. There is this fun, really tight knit group of people, and I wanted to be a part of that. As great as active duty is, you’re also moving every two years or so, and you lose touch with people. I really wanted to just stay here and keep those connections because it gets lonely, especially in a field where there are so few females.

Something I would suggest for a young girl who wants to join the military is to not be afraid of your own voice. It can be really intimidating walking into a room and you’re the only female there. It took me a long time to really find my voice and to not be afraid to speak up when everyone is saying one thing but they might be wrong and I might be right.

Especially at a younger age or as a lower ranking Airman, you deal hands-on with stuff, but as people go through the ranks, they pull themselves away to become more of a mentor in a supervisory role. I might know something whereas they might’ve forgotten, so I need to speak up.

Right now we’re training with inert [chemically inactive] munitions, but down range, you can absolutely get someone hurt. So, speak up! Not to be too deep, but you could save someone’s life by doing that.”

--Staff Sgt. Jonquil Willard, 192nd Maintenance Squadron munitions controller