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AFPC general talks about women in the military

by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
Air Force News Agency

3/20/2008 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- When Maj. Gen. K.C. McClain joined the Air Force in 1977, she planned to serve four years and move on.

Thirty years later, she is quick to identify what has kept her serving.

"What kept me in the Air Force is the people," General McClain said. "Their professionalism and dedication has challenged me and made me want to be better."

Now, in her duties as the Air Force Personnel Center commander, the general is in the perfect position to serve people across the Air Force.

Having women in command positions sends an important message out to the world, the general said.

"I think it sends a strong signal about (the) military, that it is only looking for the best leaders not whether they are male or female," she said.

She was molded by a strong mother and two older sisters who set a good example for her as she grew up in the small town of Sayre, Okla., she said.

It is important for young girls to have role models to look up to, the general said. In high school she was pushed by an English teacher who helped her prepare for college.

"I think I have benefited from women who preceded me and were trailblazers," General McClain said. "Hopefully I will help other women behind me see that they too can achieve this position."

Being a woman did not make it more difficult for her to earn her second star, she said. However, with only 104 major generals out of 65,000 officers in the Air Force it is a hard task for anybody to accomplish, she said.

"I have been able to do great things for a person from a small town in western Oklahoma," the general said.

The highlight of the general's career has been commanding the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Task Force, she said. She believes that the task force effected important changes across the DOD. It is not a highlight that stands alone in her career.

"I find that it has been a totally amazing journey," General McClain said.

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