JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. –
As a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) Instructor and assistant Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the armory at the 11th Security Forces Squadron on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., Senior Airman Lynn Clements has an extensive background and a family history of military service that inspires her everyday.
In addition to the standard Security Forces training, CATM instructors undergo an additional 23-day course to become qualified to instruct Airmen in firearms and small arms handling. As a result, CATM instructors are highly trained and skilled in these weapons systems, which allows them to provide a higher level of training and education to Airmen. CATM enhances the readiness of the Air Force and ensuring that they are able to protect themselves and others in potentially dangerous situations.
Clements’ family has deep military roots and history of service. "My grandfather was Security Police back in the day during Desert Storm,” she said. “He specifically did some combat arms as well. And my other grandpa was in the Army. So I have military history on both sides of my family, and my military experience elevated my connection to both of them."
Clements' mother is another inspiration for her work ethic and drive. "I got my drive and work ethic from my mom. She raised my brother and I as a single mother for several years. She had to get her GED and she worked hard. She doesn't have college experience but she still provided for us. My brother graduated from college and I'm in the Air Force working on my degree. I think it's a genetic work ethic from her."
One of the women that Clements looks up to is Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, a fallen defender who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jacobson was traveling by Humvee when she was killed by an IED. She was the first female Airman to die in the line of duty since the Vietnam War. Clements remembers the reason why Jacobson went out that day was because she volunteered. She said, "Other people have gone, it's my turn." Clements has taken this lesson to heart and strives to lead by example, always volunteering and taking on new challenges.
Her passion for serving her country and following in the footsteps of her family led her to become a Combat Arms Instructor. She has been in this role for about two years now. "I got the chance to become a CATM instructor because I was always volunteering for stuff. That's my big thing, I always want to learn and grow. So a combination of that and really good leadership got me where I am today."
Clements recognizes that being a woman in the military is no easy feat, but she has embraced the challenge. She concedes the hard work of the women who came before her and paved the way for future generations. However, she also acknowledges that there is still work to be done.
Women in the military have had to be stern and serious in the past, as any sign of weakness was seen as unacceptable, she said. Clements is proud to be part of a new generation of women who can embrace their femininity while also being strong and capable in uniform. “We have an opportunity now, to kind of change that a little bit and embrace the fact that we are who we are."
As a leader and instructor, Clements knows that the hardest thing to do is to learn how to interact with everyone on different levels. She tries to be aware of people's emotions and anticipate their needs. "That's the hardest thing to do as a leader, you have to learn how to interact with everybody at different levels.”
For Clements, being a Combat Arms Instructor is not just a job, it's a calling. With her dedication to service and her commitment to learning and growing, she has no doubt that she will continue to make a difference in the lives of those around her.
Clements hopes that her story will inspire other women to pursue their passions and break barriers. "I can do it, and other women can do it as well. And we can't let people hold us back by saying we can't do this."
As Women's History Month is upon us, we honor women like Lynn Clements who serve their country with courage and conviction.