Women of the Military

Deputy Director of the Air National Guard

Episode Summary

From planning to serve four years to Deputy Director of the Air National Guard. My guest, Maj Gen Dawne Deskins, this week didn’t want to join the military but needed a way to pay for college. Her dad said you only have to serve four years and then they will pay for your college. So she decided to join through ROTC. And 36 years later she is still in the Air For

Episode Notes

Maj Gen Dawne Deskins was planning to be a broadcast journalist as she prepared for college, but her parents didn’t have a way to pay for college. Her dad decided to fix the problem of getting college paid for by signing her up for the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program (ROTC). So, she was quite surprised when a Captain called her and told her about reporting to ROTC. She then called her dad and learned he had signed her up.

ROTC Scholarship

She agreed to ROTC so that she could get a scholarship. She would only have to serve four years and then she could go and be a broadcast journalist. The Air Force initially had her slated to serve as a Missler. But things were changing and they didn’t think they had enough women to man the two-man crews. So instead, she became an Air Weapons Controller (now know as Air Battle Manager).

She went to Tyndall AFB for school and ended up meeting her future husband. Their quick romance led them to get married before she moved to the next assignment which was in Washington at McCord AFB. She enjoyed her job and her husband eventually caught up with her in Washington and began going to school. While there she had her first child a son. Life was crazy being a mom, having her husband going to school, but it was her life and she didn’t know what else to expect.

From Active Duty to the Air National Guard

She stayed in the Air Force on active duty because she had the opportunity to go back to Florida to be an instructor. Her husband found a job in Florida and had graduated college so it worked well for them. At the 10-year point, she felt as though things were getting too complicated and she decided to separate. But she was curious about the National Guard and applied to serve in her home state of New York.

She ended getting a full-time role in the National Guard and found the stability she needed for her and her family to continue the serve. She was able to make it to the role of Commander and as she approached her high year tenure she started planning for retirement. But then she had the opportunity to come to DC for a one-year assignment and work on Military Sexual Trauma revisions. She also was promoted to Brigadier General.

She continued to serve one assignment after another and in 2018 she was selected to be a Major General. And in July of 2020 became the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and is currently there today.

Mentioned in this Episode:

The First Women Thunderbird Pilot (Nicole Malowiski) 

Brigadier General Wilma Vaught

Related Episodes

Sharing the stories of military women (Maj Gen Mari Eder)

When Public Affairs Changed

Serving in the Guard and Reserves

See the full transcript here.

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Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 105 of the woman on the military podcast. This week my guest is Major General Don l deskins. She is the deputy director of the Air National Guard at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. As the Deputy Director she assists the Air National Guard director and formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs affecting more than 107,700 Air National Guard members and civilians in more than 1800 units throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. In today's interview, we talked about why she joined the military some highlights from her career, and how the people that she worked with pushed her and made it possible to get her where she is today. I found this interview inspirational and with so much great wisdom, and I know that you're going to enjoy it. So let's get started. You're listening to the women of the military podcast where we share the stories of female servicemembers and have a military touch their lives. I'm Amanda Huffman, I'm an Air Force veteran, author of women of the military and a collaborative author of brave women strong faith. I am also a military spouse and Mom, I created women of the military podcast as a place to share stories of military women past and present with the goal of finding the heart of the story while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women, and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of women of the military. Welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you here.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  01:51

Well, thank you for having me, Amanda. It's a it really is an honor. Especially, since you yourself are a former woman in uniform. So thank you for your service.


Amanda Huffman02:01

Thank you. Yeah, and Air Force too! So, let's get started with Why did you decided to join the military?


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  02:08

So you know, it's, I would love to tell you that I had this really great story of a commitment to serve. And I came from a long line of military leaders. But actually it's a it's it's a it's a pretty selfish story. Because what what ended up happening was I went to college and financial things had changed. With my parents. I didn't realize at the time those those that financial situation had changed the way it did, being an 18 year old and being somewhat oblivious to what was going on at home with my parents finances. And they just really at that point, could not afford to send me to college. So my dad had served for five years back in the early 60s. And he thought he had a solution to this. So he actually went ahead and enrolled me in Air Force ROTC over at Cornell University, I was going to Ithaca College at the time. So out of the blue, I get a phone call from Air Force captain, who tells me the classes are going to start the following Thursday and proceeds to give me some information on reporting. I didn't understand where he got my phone, my phone number didn't know understand how he heard about me. And that's what I called my dad and found out that he had taken care of a obstacle he felt that he had in front of him, which was how to get me through college and it decided ROTC was a way for me. So I really initially went in kind of kicking and screaming, I really didn't want to do it. I had I had plans, big plans, I wanted to be a I wanted to be a broadcaster. So I had plans of going on and and and doing that. But he explained to me that ROTC was an opportunity and that I could take a test and maybe get a scholarship and that would pay for school. And all I had to do was four years on the other end. But as an 18 year old four year sounded like the rest of my life. So you know, I really agonized in the beginning. But in the end, I wanted to go to college. So I went ahead and and took the test and I got a scholarship and I was supposed to go into missiles. And I wasn't too excited about that either. But again, I knew I was doing this as a as a way to meet a need. So so I just stuck with it. And I will be honest, I think I was kind of tainted, in my view of what the military what the Air Force was, you know, this was 1980. So you're just coming out of the I've kind of grew up in the Vietnam era, and saw a lot that's a lot of what I saw about the military was Vietnam. And by the 80s, things had really changed and I didn't realize that they had changed, but my dad knew that this would be a good opportunity for me. So I did my two, excuse me four weeks summer camp and McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. And that's when I got my real taste for the Air Force and started to get a feeling of you know, this is something actually that might be a good fit for me for a little while. And I could Certainly do it for four years. So so that's what got me in with the intent that I would do four years and get out and then go on my life and be their youth. There was a broadcast today. My name was Jessica Savage. She was had come out of ethica College words, which is where I was going to school, and I wanted to be her. So I, I felt I was on that path after I get my four years to the Air Force. But now as I'm approaching, see, I'm in my 36 year, almost 37th year in the Air Force and in the Air Guard, it didn't quite work out the way I thought it was gonna work out.


Amanda Huffman05:31

Not quite the way that you thought, but that's cool that you're dad, not went behind your back, but I guess he kind of did and got you into ROTC. So that's kind of a cool story. My dad when he found out I wanted to join the Air Force, he drove to the recruiters office and I was like, Oh, I guess I guess you're on board with this.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  05:50

My mom wasn't quite as on board. I remember when I was getting on the plane right after I've been commissioned and and took me to the airport, and I was getting ready to go to Tyndall Air Force Base, which is, which was for my first assignment was she said to me at the airport, she says, You look a little nervous. And I said, Well, I am you know, I'm going to a new place. And she said, I'm sure I can call someone and you don't have to go. And I said, I'm sure that's not true. Mom. I'm sure I have to go.


Amanda Huffman06:15

That's funny. That's interesting. So let's talk about your first assignment. You went to Tyndall? You were a little nervous. But how did that all work out?



I did. So I told you originally supposed to go into Missiles, you know, in the in the early 80s, there was a big shift in in where the military, you know what they were doing as far as modernization and they were going away from one missile system to another and they really weren't sure the Missile system they had that they had had took a four member crew and the new one took a two member crew, and they just really weren't sure that they they had enough women to do to member crews. And they really didn't want to put a man and a woman alone down in the missile silo together. So so they they turned around, they said, we're not going to send you the Missiles we're going to send you to be at the time was called a weapons director. And I said, well, Holy smokes, what's that? So I looked it up. And it mentioned radars and airplanes. And I thought, well, the assignments look a lot better than the missile ones because those were all like in fairly remote areas of the United States. So So yeah, so I went off to the schoolhouse at Tyndall Air Force Base. And that was my first exposure to the real active Air Force. And I really enjoyed it. I mean, I really enjoyed, I enjoyed the career field, I enjoyed the lifestyle, I enjoyed the people and, and that's where I met my husband. He was he was my next door neighbor. He was he was active duty at the time as well. He worked on F-15s. And, and that was my first positive experience in the Air Force was meeting my soon to be husband.


Amanda Huffman07:46

I love this story. I met my husband in ROTC. And I'm thankful for the Air Force that I did. But I thought it was really interesting was when I did ROTC, I got to pick my job. And I felt like I had a lot more control over like what I did, did the Air Force tell you like, this is what you're doing? And you didn't really have a say?



It goes back to that money piece again. So when I took the test, I tested for a lot of different things. And I didn't score high enough to be a pilot or navigator. But I scored well enough to get a full scholarship if I was willing to be a missile er. So so that's why I let them pick what I was going to do. I'm sure I could have gone in and, and done something else, but then they wouldn't have paid for it.


Amanda Huffman08:29

That makes a lot of sense. So you may your husband at Tyndall. Did you guys get married really quickly? Or what was that story? I know, I'm going off the notes. But so


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  08:39

No, no, that's fine. And actually, that's that's the that's the story. You know, every parent's nightmare, right? I go, I leave home. I go to Tyndall Air Force Base, I meet my husband, while you're I meet who will someday be my husband. Two months late. A little over two months later, we get engaged and we got married in May right before I left to go to my first assignment at McCord. Part of that was driven by the fact that I knew I was going to be going to PCs after school. So that that kind of led us to make some decisions fairly quickly. But 35 years later, I've got to feel it was a good decision.


Amanda Huffman09:15

Yeah, sounds like the military. romance is a little accelerated. 


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  09:20

Got to make decisions quickly when you're in the military. Yeah.


Amanda Huffman09:23

So you went off to McChord and you guys were married. But were you separated for a while?



We were so so when I went into Mcchord, he still had a little bit of his enlistment to do so. So I went on and he he got out because he wanted to go to school and separated. I guess we were separated for about four months before he joined me up there.


Amanda Huffman09:45

And what was your first assignment like when you're actually doing your job to finish training and you are doing the work that you had been trained to do?


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  09:53

Yes. So that you know that again, you know, the the lifestyle, the people really It's always been the people that I've had just the honor to serve with. And it's just incredible the talent that we have in the military, it just, it really kind of blows you away. And I, you know, I went to McCord had a great bunch of folks that I worked with really enjoyed it. I enjoyed what I did. And it's the career fields now called air battle management. But back then it was kind of the whole the height of the Cold War. So we had a lot of alert units all all around the periphery of the United States. I was at the Northwest air defense sector. And so we were responsible for the Northwest quarter of the US. And for entry into that career field. That was just a place that there was just so much activity, and you just really got to do the mission every single day. And it was a great place for first assignment of the Pacific Northwest was great. Had my son while I was there, again, that things tend to move quickly. In the military, I joke often that my son's about three years premature, because we really didn't have a plan that we'd wait until my husband had graduated from college. And, but, but the best laid plans he came along after we'd been on record, I think about a year and a half.


Amanda Huffman11:21

And what was it like to be a mom and Air Force and your husband was going to school? It seems like that was a little bit crazy.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  11:30

Yeah. So, you know, I didn't really know anything else. So it was it was one of those, you know, just just kind of figured it out. I think I think you know that I think all moms, you know, deal with that one way or another. I was fortunate in that I was in a stateside assignment. I was on shift work, which sounds like that would be terrible. But it actually allowed us to kind of sink our schedules. And and as you know, when you're in the military, and you have a family, it's a real partnership. And you've got you've got to be helping each other out. Because there's no way you're going to get through it otherwise. So, you know, we just kind of rolled up our sleeves. And did I look back now and I wonder where I had all the energy to do it. But when you're in the middle of it, it's just that's just your life. That's just what you're doing every day.


Amanda Huffman12:16

And that makes sense. My husband's doing shift work right now. And it's it's a lot of sacrifice, but we're making it work. And



Yeah, yeah, but it's a it's a little easier with it's funny, my kids, I've done quite a bit of shift work through the years. And my kids used to love when I would volunteer to work midnight shifts, which I hate. I can't really sleep during the day. But to them they felt like they had a stay at home mom because I would sleep while they were away at school when they came home. I was there and you know, so they said we wish you could work Midnight's all the time I said Oh, please. No. I can't do that.


Amanda Huffman12:48

Oh, that's crazy. Yeah. So how many years in was it when you made the switch from active duty to National Guard?



Yes. I was in for 10 years, I saw I the assignment at record. And then I was fortunate enough, again, not a lot of women in the career field at the time. So they the back to the schoolhouse at Tyndall. They were really trying to increase the female instructors. So I had the opportunity to go from a cord back to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was very unusual, really, I should have gone overseas from from a cord, which probably would have forced me into into a decision earlier. But being that I had this to stateside assignments, it allowed me to, you know, to keep the stability in the family. And by then my husband had graduated, and he got a job down in Florida. But as as I know, you know, firsthand, no, there comes a point where you're just you just can't see a path it get to keep lining up like and I was at 10 years. And I, you know, when I looked at, I look back and I said I've been really fortunate and I really enjoyed it. But I can't see that I'm going to be able to line this up for the next 10 years. And I felt like I was starting to make my decisions that were in my own personal interest and not in the interest of the Air Force. And I, I didn't like being in that place. So by then we had two kids. I said, you know, I'm just, I'm going to call it quits, I'm going to separate and and go on and do something else. And it just happened. I mean, really, I'd already made the decision. I was going to separate it was the draw down in the mid 90s. And, and it happened that the air defense sector. So the first assignment I told you, I'd gone to, we're transitioning from the active duty to the guard. And there was one up in the state of New York, Central New York, which is where I'm from my mom was up there at the time and my brother and I thought well gee, maybe I can I can join that Guard unit and I didn't know anything about the guard, except for a couple people that I served with that actually I respected very, very much. They were civilian instructors at the schoolhouse, and in the you know in the once a month they were they were guardsmen. They would share their stories. And and that is how I characterize the guard were these two people that I thought very highly of for their technical expertise. And they were, they were men of true character. And I thought, well, that that might be a good match for me. But I didn't know if I was going to go full time or part time, I didn't really even know how it worked. I just I just applied. And it just so happened that because they were hiring so many people at the sectors that they hired me right into a full time position. So we left January 1, I think it was 1995, January 1 1995. We drove up from Florida on New Year's Day up to New York, and I joined the New York Air National Guard about 30 days later. Wow, that's interesting.


Amanda Huffman15:44

That's interesting, how it like all worked out and how those people were in the right place, and it influenced your decision. So what was that switch? Like from active duty to National Guard? Was it what you expected, or


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  15:56

I really didn't know what to expect, was the same thing held true as far as the people I worked with. So phenomenal talent, you know, dedicated to the mission dedicated to serving our country. What's neat about the guard is that you really run into folks who will have a whole different life doing something else. And then they put on a uniform and, and come in and serve their country in so many different capacities. And they might be I mean, it's it's funny, they may be they may be a lawyer out in the civilian sector, they might be a police officer. Some of them are fairly high up in different corporations. We had one young woman, she was a pharmacist, but she had, she was enlisted in our unit. So she was a she was a staff sergeant, when she was sitting scope back in Rome, New York. But then during the week, she was a pharmacist. So it's just it's just interesting that the diversity of people you get to work with.


Amanda Huffman16:55

Yeah, that's something that I've heard a lot on the podcast is the different people and the different skill sets that the reserves and National Guard bring that you don't see in the military, because you don't have two different jobs. You just have your one full time.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  17:11

Yeah. But I think I, I wish I had known earlier on if someone had told me about the guard is that what it really does allow you to do is that you can you kind of go back and forth. But now I've always been full time. That's just the way it worked out for me. But we have folks who be part time. And so you can you can adjust a little bit better to the challenges of life. So there are women I've known who have gone to a drill status men part time while they're raising their kids, and then they can come to a point where they're comfortable and coming back and being full time again. And allowing that flexibility, I think is one of the great strengths in our ability to retain a lot of talent in the guard.


Amanda Huffman17:53

Yeah, that's a really good point. It does offer the flexibility that active duty can't and it gives you that, that you have more control on life on active duty when you're like I don't really have any right. All right. So are there any highlights or stories you want to share from your time in the National Guard before you made the rank of general?



So you know, I it's I so I love the unit, if it's interesting with the Eastern Air Defense Sector, it went through a lot of different things in my time there. So when I originally joined the unit, the reason really had gone to the guard from being active duty was that mission was really seen to be somewhat waning, you know, the Cold War was really over, you know, the Berlin Wall had come down. The Russians weren't flying along our coastlines anymore. So with the connection to Homeland Defense, and a, a steadier, quieter mission, there was a decision, I think, at the time that that the guard would be well suited for. Little did we know that September 11 would happen. So that really changed that change the mission of those units, particularly at Eastern air defense sector. You know, on that day, I you know, I remember, as we were, you know, trying on that day to scramble enough aircraft to get aircraft airborne to to intercept the four airliners that were that were hijacked. And it it fundamentally changed the sector and, and our mission, and everything that happened after that, so that they stood up northcom as being a geographical command for the United States that hadn't had that prior to September 11. We really changed our mission from looking outward, to really looking inward and really being a daily Sentinel, if you will, to protecting the citizens of this country. It really, really was very fulfilling to watch that mission. And change and evolve through the years. And, you know, for me, so remember I told you, I was at the Northwest air defense sector in the mid 80s. And at that time, the commander of the sector was a was a fighter pilot, all the senior positions in the sector or pilots. And fast forward now through the years. And I get to finish my, you know, what, while I thought I was finishing my active duty career in the guard, as the commander of that same type of units, so it's just interesting that, you know, if I, if you'd asked me back in the mid 80s, you know, do you think you'd ever be, you know, commander of the sector? Well, first of all, I'd say I, I'm only going to be in for four years, so probably not, but then it just looked impossible, because there just was no path for me. Not just as a woman, but for me as an air battle manager to be able to, to get to that point. So being a commander of a unit of people I was just so proud to serve with, really, at that time is just the pinnacle of my career, and I was absolutely ready to just retire at that point. And, and go back to our house in Central New York and, and settle down and, and go into retirement.


Amanda Huffman21:12

But the Air Force had other plans. They weren't done with you yet.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  21:16

So it's it is funny, you know, it's so much. If someone had asked me back when I was second lieutenant, you know, if I could see if someone had said I would be sitting here with you, Amanda, talking about what's like to be a two star general, I Well, I'm sure I would have laughed because there was no way I saw that that was ever, ever happening. I never put myself in that category of caliber of people. And that's, but it is interesting. And that's why I do think it's it's important, because I don't like to talk about myself, particularly and I don't consider myself particularly unique, which is why when these opportunities arise, I'm always a bit hesitant. But I remember very clearly General dunwoody's, General and Dunwoody he was the first female four star, she was four star in the army. I remember her speaking at a uso event once and I expected she was going to tell me about how, you know, she'd always wanted to be in the military. And now she had this, you know, this grand plan to make four star. And she told a story about how she was a phys ed major and in college, and it decided to join ROTC kind of almost on a on a whim. And I thought that that was important that I heard her say that, because it made me realize that there are other opportunities, it's important that we tell our story, as women because I think it's just very important that young women see that there are so many opportunities for them. And they can come in to this from all different ways. And that that doesn't, that doesn't limit where they're gonna end up on the other end of it.


Amanda Huffman22:55

That's so true. And that really hits a theme that a lot of women have talked about on the podcast, thinking, Well, I didn't do it the right way, or I wasn't, you know, following this path, or whatever the case may be. But if you just walk through open doors, I think Nicole no loski was on and she said, timing, luck and doing the right thing. And it's it's not always you, you're striving for it. But sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time. And things happen. And then you take advantage of it. And you're able to bring change and help and help inspire the next generation, which is really 


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  23:32

Absolutely, absolutely.


Amanda Huffman23:34

So when you got asked to be a General and you are already thinking about retiring and leaving the Air Force and going back to your house, and what was that process? Because it kind of was unexpected? And what went through your mind? And then why did you decide to say yes, 


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  23:54

As I mentioned, I was the commander of the center defense sector, and I was coming up towards, you know, you're only as a colonel, you can only stay in, you know, for a set amount of time. And I was coming up on that. And I felt very fortunate that I had been able to serve, you know, it's going to be 30 years. And at the time, the first Air Force Commander, it was Lieutenant General, Sid Clark, he became the director of the Air National Guard, and I worked for him as the sector commander. And as I was getting close to my retirement date, you know, he started to ask me if I would be, you know, if I'd be willing to leave New York to get promoted. And I said, You know, I really have to think about that. Because New York's where we want to stay. It's my state. The kids had, you know, My son is, at that point, already graduated from college. My daughter was think she had graduated. Yes, she had graduated from college at that point, too, but you know, really wasn't my plan. But, you know, as I thought about it as an opportunity, and I sat down and talk to talk to my husband about it, and I said, you know Let's, let's just try it, we'll try it for a year. Now his job was in New York. So this meant we were gonna have to be apart for a year. And it was an opportunity and to go down and work as the Air Force was really starting to try to get their arms around the issue of sexual assault standing up that policy and program and and with general target asked me to do was to represent the Air Guard, as the Air Force went through it, to make sure that the policies that the Air Force came forward with were policies that we could live with within Air Guard as an Air Guard. And so it's something that resonated with me, to a great extent, because I've had been very fortunate in 30 years to with a few exceptions, I've been just endorsed by the men that I worked for, and with So the notion to me that there were women that did not have that same opportunity was something that was very dear and deep to my heart. And so helping to stand up that program and, and make sure that actually, not just women, but all survivors of sexual assault, had a voice and, and, and had the support that they needed, just was something that made it worthwhile for me to leave New York and come down to DC.


Amanda Huffman26:17

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I that really resonates with me, because I had such a great experience. I had such good leaders and men, my commanders were all men, and they helped me so much. And then to hear the stories of other women who went through such tragedy and, and to be a part of it until make it better. It makes a lot of sense why you would choose to do that.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  26:41

Yeah, and it's just, it's just so heartbreaking. And when you hear their stories, male or female, and there's just that feeling that of helplessness. You just, you just want to change it, you just want to make sure that no one else has that feeling while they're while they're serving in uniform.


Amanda Huffman27:01

Yeah, so you did that. And you're still there. And it's been over a year, right?


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  27:07

Yes. So it's funny because I had that. So I went to talk to General Clark, who's the director, the National Guard at this point, and, and I said, you know, Sir, this came down to one year assignment, I'm at six months, and he kind of nodded his head. And he said, Yeah, and I said, So am I going back to New York are my staying, he's like, Well, you know, oh, we'll just we'll just see what happens. I said, Okay. And then that, so then I moved into the job shortly after that, I guess I was a close that, I guess it was about nine months into the assignment that they moved me over to be what they call the a three, which is the Director of Operations for the Air Guard.


Amanda Huffman27:48

Yeah, another exciting job where you can make a big impact and, and be that when I was reading the articles, it was like for the first first of this, and this and this, and there were a bunch of first. So it's really cool, because you're the first non pilot, right? And the first woman, right? Yeah, yeah. So it's not just that you're one. They're also not non pilot, just like you talked about earlier, when you're a commander and a position that you saw only be pilot. So what, what does it mean to be in a position both as a first woman and a non pilot?


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  28:25

Yes. So you know, it really it? You know, I was forced to make sure I had at a good team, I actually inherited a great team, variety of operators, many pilots, but you know, from variety of different career fields. But you know, it's, it's a little intimidating when you're the first of anything, because, you know, the fear of failure is strong. And, of course, you have a certain amount of people who want you to succeed. And there may be a couple that that don't, but you really, and I've, I've known throughout my career, you, you really have to rely on your team. And I had a lot of experienced people who, who were pilots, that could give me the perspective in those areas where i, where i didn't have that, you know, in the end is that it's that diversity, right, getting the group together. And diversity can mean a lot of different things. But the most important thing is you have just different people with different perspectives. And every time you have people with different perspectives, and that you encourage people to have a voice, and to give an alternate opinion, you're going to get to a better solution every single time.


Amanda Huffman29:34

That's so true. Talking to you really reminds me of when I got the chance to talk to general Loma vide because she always talked about the people that she worked for. And so it's interesting how often you mentioned the people and how the people matter so much and that's how you are where you are today. And so there's a lot of commonalities between your story and her story. So it's really cool to hear that


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  29:58

well, you know, and back to the you know, There's so much opportunity and luck in it. And sometimes it's just just taking the opportunity. And then, you know, just just doing the best you can in the, you know, in what's given to you and getting everyone to work together. But, you know, I have just been blessed. You know, when I look at all the people that I have had the opportunity to serve with, I am honored every day to do it. And many of them will, they'll write to me or yellow, they'll stay in touch afterwards. And it's just, it's every, every one of them. Has this changed the person that I am, because they've, they've given me something that that makes me a better leader.


Amanda Huffman30:40

So my last question is, what advice would you give to young women who are considering joining the military?


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  30:46

Yes. So the first thing I would say is, is don't limit yourself, first and foremost, whatever job you're given, be the very best you can be at that job. You know, I people, I think even didn't want a woman in the military, they would come around if you're a technical expert, because at the end of the day, they need you, they need you as part of the team. And don't limit what you think you can do based on what the world is like today. You know, if I had done that, I would have limited, you know, taking some of the opportunities because I would think, well, I could never be a commander. So I'm gonna, I'm just going to go in this particular route, there, there will continue to be opportunities out there, seek, seek all those opportunities you can and don't keep from doing something because it scares you. If I didn't do things because they scared me I would have stopped a long time ago. It's it's not fear. It's, you know, it's facing that fear and pushing forward. And you'll be amazed that you are able to do things that you probably thought you were never able to do. And if it really doesn't, there's no such thing as the ideal military officer Be who you are as a leader. And, and people will people will accept that. Because you're genuine and and you're being true to yourself, and you're being true to them.


Amanda Huffman32:09

That's such great advice and a perfect way to end the interview. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate getting a chance to talk to you and hear your story.


Maj Gen Dawne Deskins  32:17

Oh, my pleasure, Amanda, best of luck to you. Thanks for doing this.


Amanda Huffman32:23

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