Story and Multimedia products by Amber Porter
Being a mechanist has traditionally been a male-dominated rating in the Navy, said Aviation Mechanist’s Mate Airman Kathryn Bismonte, assigned to the “Golden Eagles” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9.
Of the 48,356 enlisted active duty personnel in the United States Navy, Navy Personnel Command reports that only 18% are female. According to Admiral Michelle Howard during a military strategy meeting last May, the Navy plans on increasing female recruitment and retention rate to 25% of the Navy personnel.
“I’m proud to be a mech,” said Bismonte. “People associate the mechanic with the big burly dude heading out to the plane, but I know that what matters is job knowledge and ability. There’s nothing those guys can do that I can’t.”
Standing at 4 feet 10 inches, Bismonte is small but is continuously moving, working beside her male counterparts during aircraft inspection, adjustment, testing, repair and even a complete overhaul of the engine and propellers.
According to Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online, Aviation Machinist’s Mates (AD) maintain, inspect, troubleshoot, preserve, and de-preserve aircraft engines and their related systems, including fuel, lubrication, compression, combustion, exhaust, accessory gearbox, aircraft mounted accessory drive, propeller, anti-ice, and bleed air systems. They conduct special and conditional inspections and oil analysis. In addition, they conduct functional checks and required adjustments on engines and related systems. They also supervise and provide training to powerplant work centers.
“I’m always learning something new,” said Bismonte. “I love how challenging the work is and how each day is different.”
Bismonte is from the Philippines, she joined the military in 2014 to gain citizenship and to go to college.
“My parents are very proud of me,” said Bismonte. “They want their children to be independent and they’re so happy to see how much the military has helped me find my way.”
Bismonte looks forward to making a career of the military, saying, “I can see myself as a Master Chief someday, and I’m thankful that females now have that opportunity afforded to them.”