U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
Tech. Sgt. Marcia Regula has grown into her career as a military trainer and parachute instructor at the Air Force Academy, but said she wasn’t the typical little girl growing up in Battlecreek, Michigan.
“I quit the dance class my mom made me take to join a Karate class with my brothers,” she said. “I was happier horsing around and playing G.I. Joe with my brothers and their friends instead of hanging out with the girls.”
Influenced by family members who served in the Army and Air Force, Regula knew at a young age she would someday enlist.
“I idolized my military family members,” she said. “One grandfather served in the Army and the other in the Air Force.”
Regula’s maternal uncle retired from the Air Force after serving 20 years.
“He was a munitions specialist,” she said. “He would send my mother trinkets when he was deployed or stationed overseas. He told me he would write my name on bombs. For as long as I can remember, I knew military service would be in my future.”
Regula reported to basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in September 2002 -- two months after graduating high school. After BMT, she studied aircraft hydraulic systems at Sheppard AFB.
“I wanted to fix planes and see the world and I was granted my wish,” she said. “Basic training and technical school flew by and before I knew it, I was learning my Air Force specialty at Royal Air Force base Mildenhall, England.
At Mildenhall, Regula worked on KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.
“I was lucky enough to have an amazing first supervisor,” she said. “He knew that aircraft like the back of his hand, like a true professional, and represents exactly what I still strive to be as a supervisor and leader.”
Later, as a newly-promoted staff sergeant, Regula transferred to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, an hour-long flight from her family’s home in Battlecreek.
“Moving to the states was a welcome change,” she said. “I missed my family while overseas.”
At Offutt, Regula worked on Boeing 747 E-4B Nightwatch aircraft.
“Offutt was a welcome challenge and the mission took me places I only dreamed about,” she said.
Regula remained at Offutt for six years; she married Shane Regula, also an aircraft mechanic, earned a promotion to technical sergeant and decided to expand her career.
“I investigated special duty assignments and became an AMT,” she said.
Specifically, Regula is the NCO in-charge of Airmanship 496. A certified skydiver, she teaches competitive free-fall to cadets trying out for the Air Force Wings of Blue team.
Regula said she knows March is Women’s History Month; she applauds the efforts of women who paved the path for gender-based equality across the Defense Department.
“There should not be any gender-based discrimination,” she said. “If you meet the standard, you meet the standard, and should be considered equal with everyone else.”
Regula said the road for women in the U.S. military is still being paved.
“As an aircraft mechanic, I’ve historically been the only woman in my shop,” she said. “My skills got me to this point. My skills have nothing to do with my gender.”
Regula is scheduled to return to her Air Force roots as an aircraft mechanic this summer when she transfers to McConnell AFB, Kansas.