Natalia Henriquez

Pilot : Aircraft unconfirmed

Military women quietly make strides

Afghan conflict gives female soldiers more roles in battle

By Kristina Dell, NBC NEWS

Dec. 12 - As the United States parades its high-end range of sophisticated unmanned planes and devastating "daisy-cutter" bombs in the first war of the 21st century, one element of the deployment no longer counts for news, the presence of female soldiers on the ground - and in the air - in Afghanistan.


Prior to a flight, U.S. Navy pilot Natalia Henriquez suits up aboad the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt

"NO ONE thinks twice of women being here, in all positions," said public affairs officer Major Chris Hughes, who is on the ground in southern Afghanistan and counts a handful of women in his base camp. "We just came back from an assignment and the crew chief was a female and no one batted an eye. It's the norm now."

In the war in Afghanistan - aimed at defeating the Taliban and destroying the Al-Qaida terrorist network - U.S. women fly the most advanced fighter aircraft, bombing Taliban targets while under anti-aircraft fire. ...more

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