First all-women team enters Aviano bomb-building competition — and wins

| January 14, 2020

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ana Merkel, a munition inspector from the 31st Munitions Squadron, conducts an inert bomb build at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 7, 2020. Merkel developed the idea for the all-female ”Bouncing Bettys” team, which won the competition. ERICKA A. WOOLEVER/U.S. AIR FORCE

Ex is still under the weather, and asked me to post up this article. One of my duties as a P-3 crewman was to be certified on loading homing torpedoes in the bomb bay, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles on the wings. Of course our crew Ordie ran the checklists and ensured compliance with established procedures so Very Bad Things didn’t happen.

The reason I bring this up is I know what it takes to hang things from aircraft, making sure they stay there until needed, or brought back safely if not used. It ain’t easy.


AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — They Could Do It!

For the first time since Aviano began hosting its quarterly bomb-building competition, an all-female team entered — and won. The team, called the Bouncing Bettys, completed the Rapid Aircraft Generation and Employment competition last week.

All of the Bouncing Bettys dressed as Rosie the Riveter, the World War II icon whose image appeared on posters proclaiming, “We Can Do It!” The posters were used to recruit women to work in factories and shipyards to produce munitions and war supplies.

The RAGE competition included six evaluated events: a written test, stockpile practices, trailer configuration and re-configuration, air cargo palletization and a weapons-build, said U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa in a Facebook post congratulating the team on their win.

The competition is a relatively new event, first held in October.

The Bouncing Bettys were Staff Sgt. Ana L. Merkel, a munitions inspector; Staff Sgt. Catharyn M. Clyde, a munitions control supervisor; Staff Sgt. Nicole D. Jarvis, an NCOIC of conventional munitions support; Airman 1st Class Ashlyn B. Martin, a stockpile management technician; Airman Erin N. Brumm, a stockpile management technician, all from the 31st Munitions Squadron; and Senior Airman Audrey M. Naputi, a munitions inspector from the 731st Munitions Squadron. All are based at Aviano.

Congrats, Ladies! Read the rest of the article and view the pics here: Stars and Strpes

Category: Air Force, Bravo Zulu

Comments (11)

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  1. Graybeard says:

    Good for them.

    In these areas women often have the natural advantage over men. I know in the computer industry women are much better at building circuits – until about the time Aunt Flo comes to visit.

    Sure hope Ex-PH2 gets back up and running soon. We need her.

  2. ChipNASA says:

    What’s not to love about this? Hot women playing with explosives and the retro WWII look to boot?
    You ladies make us proud!!
    Great Jerb!!

  3. Wilted Willy says:

    I hope Ex returns here soon, I miss her!
    Get well Ex!
    BZ to all the ladies out there doing hot things!
    I love you all!!!

  4. 5th/77th FA says:

    BZ Ladies on the win. I kinda sorta do have to ask this tho. If a male referred to a group of female airpersons as “Bouncing Bettys”, how quickly would they be severely chastised? And go! “Her name’s Elizabeth and you should see her do jumping jacks…Let me bounce something off of you…She just bounces from squadron to squadron…Here try my pogo stick…just like a rubber check…” See what I mean. I’ll go back to my corner now.

    Disclaimer…I have the utmost respect for any female that wants to do any job and does that job as well as and in most cases, better than a lot of men.

    • SFC D says:

      This whole competition is wrong. All teams must celebrate diversity, they must be representative of all sexes, genders, colors, sexual preferences, personal pronouns, voting demographic, and shoe size. Fight the power!

      And ladies, you did a damn fine job!

    • Penguinman000 says:

      Dammit, hit report post by accident. My fat fingers, jet lag, a Heineken during happy hours are to blame.

      Sorry about that.

  5. Sparks says:

    Great job ladies!! Babes and bombs, just doesn’t get much better.

  6. Greg Roy says:

    Thank god we have ANOTHER first, thing.
    And nice doorag.

  7. Great job Ladies, and a get well and speedy recovery to EX.

  8. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    It sounds like a contest on who puts live ammo on a aircraft…I would hope everybody tied for first. I wouldn’t want to fly with live ordnance that was loaded by a group that just did okay…or it just me?