Keesler Airman shatters glass ceiling

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Catherine Brouillette, 333rd Training Squadron Cyber Warfare Operations course graduate, is the first female Airman to successfully graduate from the CWO course via direct accession on June 9.

CWO personnel operate in both offensive and defensive capacities, defending the Air Force network and helping to progress the mission against adversaries in the cyber realm.

Most students attend the CWO course in cross training status. Direct accessioning, or attending the course immediately after basic training, has only been attempted seven times.

Brouillette had all eyes on her from the start because a difference between her and a large portion of the career field personnel.

“This career field struggles with diversity, with maybe only two percent being women,” said TSgt. Michael Wooden, 333rd CWO course section chief. “We were excited for her journey to bring some diversity and new perspective to CWO.”

Brouillette faced the same challenges as every other student during the 97 instructional days, as well as her own challenges of adjusting to life in the military.

 “You have to remember she’s brand new, 18 years old, and is with other students who have 10-15 or more years of experience in the Air Force, who understand how the Air Force operates,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kodi Bailey, 333rd TRS senior enlisted leader. “She showed she had the determination in order to continue to work through the challenging course and be successful at the end of it.”

The most anticipated moment of the course is called drop night, when students find out their initial assignment location in the eighth of 11 blocks of instruction.

 “To be honest, there were moments when I didn't think I was going to make it to drop night,” said Brouillette. “I just felt so proud of myself and my class for getting as far as we did.”

Brouillette graduated the CWO course, marking a significant moment in Air Force history.

“I know I’m the first female to do this, but I hope I’m not the last one,” said Brouillette. “I want to see more women after me.”

Brouillette is now at her first duty station as a cyber defense operator for the 33rd Networking Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.