Jakarta – Second Lt. Dewa Ayu Ardikna Suari has been named by the Indonesian Air Force as its first female loadmaster, in an unprecedented move in the male-dominated military force.
Graduating from the Air Force Academy in 2017, 25-year-old Ayu completed her three-month loadmaster training on Wednesday. She is currently assigned to Squadron 2 at Halim Perdanakusuma military airport in East Jakarta.
As the loadmaster in the Air Force, she will be responsible for the safe loading and unloading of cargo.
Wing Commander I Fl. Col. Fata Patira conferred the title on her in the academy closing ceremony held at the airport on Wednesday.
A native of Gianyar, Bali, Ayu expressed her gratitude for her assignment in the force.
"Without the blessing of God, my parents and sister and the support of my seniors, I could not possibly be a loadmaster like I am now," she said in a press statement on Thursday, adding that she hoped there would be more female loadmasters in the Air Force.
Ayu said that becoming an Air Force officer was not her initial plan as she had dreamed of becoming a policewoman when she was a child. The dream, she said, was to follow in the footsteps of her father who serves in the police force.
Her career in the military started after she became a member of the national flag-hoisting team back in 2012 representing Bali.
"The Air Force Academy was accepting one member from the flag-hoisting team. I was called and told that I was eligible for selection," she said in an interview with tribunnews.com on Thursday.
After passing the selection process in Bali, she enrolled in the Air Force Academy in 2013 and began her career.
Now, she is excitedly awaiting her first flight schedule as a loadmaster.
"I continue to receive tremendous support from my juniors, seniors, family and other colleagues. I hope that I can carry out this new task smoothly," Ayu said.
In May, 25-year-old Second Lt. Ajeng Tresna Dwi Wijayanti became the first female fighter pilot in the Indonesian Military. She now pilots a KAI T-50i Golden Eagle light attack aircraft with the 15th Squadron of the 3rd Air Wing Fighters stationed at Iswahjudi Air Force Base in Madiun, East Java.