DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A dim room, a single blue light and a heat source hot enough to melt metal may not sound like an ideal work environment for a women, but for one Airman this is as close to home as it gets.
There are currently 28 Airmen assigned to the Dyess metals shop, but of those 28, Airman 1st Class Brooke Goosen, an aircraft metals technician with the 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, is the only female.
"My father never had any boys, so being the baby of two daughters he wanted to show me everything," the Michigan native said. "He would take me out to the garage and teach me what he knew including how to weld -- I fell in love with it instantly."
After furthering her education in welding during high school, Goosen decided to use her skills for the military.
"A lot of my family is prior military and they always told me how joining would be a great experience," Goosen said. "After graduating high school, I went to the recruiter's office and asked if there were any job openings that dealt with metal. Lucky for me there was."
After completing basic military training, she was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to start metals 96-day training before arriving at her first duty station here.
When she first arrived, her coworkers were a little surprised when they found out they would be working with a female welder and were not sure what to expect, Goosen said.
"We've had people in here before who said they have welded in the past but their work doesn't reflect that," said Staff Sgt. Denson Adams, an aircraft metals technology supervisor with the 7th EMS. "Goosen on the other hand says she has welded before and it definitely shows in her work, even with equipment she doesn't know how to operate, we show her once and she's good to go."
Even though she was welcomed with open arms, she still needed to prove that she was just as good as any guy.
"I already knew a few people I would be working with from technical training, but when I first arrived I still had to prove myself," Goosen said. "Noone wants to be outdone by a girl and I don't want to be outdone by anyone, so in a sense we constantly help each other improve."
Goosen encourages everyone to follow their heart and not worry about what people might think.
"If there are any other ladies out there who want this type of job or enjoy this type of work, don't be afraid to go out and get it," Goosen said. "You might get a little teasing at first, but in the end it's worth doing what you love."