Communications Built Legacy for Airman

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Levin Boland
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
With 23 years of service under her belt, Senior Master Sgt. Janet Dean-Gall, 97th Communications Squadron superintendent, prepares for the day.

With a hot cup of coffee and a fresh breath of cold-morning air outside the 97th Communications Squadron building, she looks back on her career and story as an Airman in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics career field that has constantly evolved over the past 20 years and is continuing to change today.

For Dean-Gall, it all started after graduating high school with a class of 3,000 students in Nashville, Tennessee, and she decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. Technology was at the cusp of becoming a world changing revolution and Dean-Gall wanted to be on top of it. The U.S. Air Force was a good way to accomplish that.
 
"I saw that some of my friends joined the service and I thought, 'Well, I'll give it a shot,'" said Dean-Gall.

Dean-Gall's mother, Jenatta, influenced her decision to join the communications career field. Jenatta had her foot in the door of communications working at a major phone company.

"My mom was the driving force on my career choice. At the time, she worked at a phone company and wanted me to pursue telecommunications," she stated.

During the early part of her career, the communications squadron was a mostly-male occupied career field and Dean-Gall was one of the few females in the shop. Although, she never encountered any challenges or obstacles because of her gender due to the overall feeling of camaraderie within the communications career field.

"Most the time I was the only female in my work center," she said. "But I was part of the team. I've never felt out of place as the only female."

Dean-Gall was an Electronic Computer Systems Specialist where she responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing computer, transmission, processing, and display equipment.

Despite the camaraderie, it was not all easy. The communications job was tough, but Dean-Gall enjoyed every bit of it.

"I love my job," she said. "My career field has evolved so much over the years: tactical comms, small computers and cryptographic equipment to now network infrastructure; voice, video and data."

She soon had to make the decision to reenlist or separate. For Dean Gall, the choice was easy.

"The max I was going to do was two enlistments. Then I went over two enlistments and I decided I would just do 20. Then 20 came and I am still here. I love it," Dean-Gall said.

Dean-Gall is now coming up on 24 years of service and is preparing to retire.

When asked for advice she could provide to young women today who hope to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, she had a very easy approach to it.

"It's very simple" she stated. "I have a 12-year-old and one of things I am really pushing is math and science because I want her to be competitive in the digital age. I want her to have options and opportunities. You just study and work hard. Women's History Month is to educate our girls, young women, on the STEM career fields so they can aspire to do any of these with dedication and hard work. Do not look at the odds or statistics and become intimidated. We all have the same opportunities."