Debra Lovette

Stripes Okinawa

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --  (Editor's note: This article is part of a series that recognizes pioneering women who are leading the way for future female Airmen and the Air Force in general. Information from an Air Force Public Affairs Agency article was used in this story)

During the early 1900s, answering phone calls, maintaining records and providing minor health care were some of few roles women who served in the military were permitted to fill. Jobs left open because men left for war, gave women the opportunity to step up and volunteer on the home front.

A century later, women across the Department of Defense carry responsibilities from maintaining multi-million-dollar aircraft, leading troops through battlefields and serving in higher leadership positions.

U.S. Air Force Col. Debra Lovette

Duty title: 18th Mission Support Group commander

Professional Credentials: Bachelor's in Strategic Leadership from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Bachelor's in National Security Strategy from the National War College and a Master's in Counseling from Troy University.

Currently working on: I'm currently working on a work/life balance and enabling people in my group to better find a work/life balance which can be especially difficult here on Okinawa. Also, swimming. I think I want to do a triathlon in May and I hate swimming but unfortunately it's one of the legs of the triathlon. I'm also working on learning a little bit of Japanese. I often work with the local nationals and it helps a little bit to be able to communicate with them, even if I'm terrible at it.

Greatest accomplishments: I don't know that I would say it's solely my accomplishment, but probably this job. This is a big accomplishment but I would not call it mine alone. I think there's absolutely no way to get here without being surrounded by people who are able to mentor, teach, correct and help you along, including supervisors, subordinates and peers.

Greatest passions: One of the reasons that drove me into this career field was a passion for taking care of people, which fits really well with what we do in the MSG. And golf. I also have a passion for learning. I don't have enough time to do as much learning as I want to do; I'm learning Japanese but I also want to learn Chinese and I also want to learn to play the guitar. There's just not enough time to learn as much as I want to.

Nobody knows that I: used to play rugby in college, I'm fascinated by photography and I desperately want to play the guitar. I play the piano...and the clarinet...and the oboe, but I desperately want to play the guitar.

Favorite quote: "Deeds, not words." I'm not sure who said it first. I think the idea behind it is important because that's how things get better; somebody has to take action. There's a propensity for people to do a lot of talking about solving problems, which is fine but at some point we have to follow up with action.

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