Being promoted to the position of Rear Admiral in the US Navy is both a tremendous responsibility and an honor. But for Rear Admiral C.J. Jaynes, it was even more than that. Along with the promotion came the understanding that, as the first female Rear Admiral in the Naval Air Systems Command, she would serve not only as a member of the navy, but a role model for female naval officers to follow.
“It means that I have to be a trailblazer, and I have to be looking out for all the other women that are coming up behind me,” Jaynes says, also adding that this realization fully set in when she was told by other women that she served as an inspiration.
Because only 9% of those who work in her position as aviation maintenance officer are women, the simple fact that she was a minority has made the job challenging at times. Nevertheless, Jaynes says in order to ascend to the lofty status of Rear Admiral, it is imperative to “really enjoy what you’re doing.”