PART ONE: Women of NAS Meridian




NAS Meridian is one of two bases in the entire country that trains Naval Strike Fighter Pilots, and they’re one of the few that are completely land-locked. Many women serve at various capacities, so, in honor of Women’s History month, we’re highlighting some of these incredible women.

“I couldn’t imagine a better group of professionals to work with. It’s just absolutely empowering when people look on the outside and see all the discipline, the yelling, and the motivation. That’s what fires us up—that’s what makes us strong, empowered women is being able to work with such highly professional men and women across the board,” said Marine Staff Sergeant Chandra Drayton. Staff Sgt. Drayton is one of the many women on board at Naval Air Station Meridian that aims to make a difference.

“Being able to cultivate that new product -- being able to know that I tangibly touched each and every one of these individuals, personally and professionally, to know that they’re going to go out into the fleet and do absolutely great things,” said Staff Sgt. Drayton. “Not only for the Marine Corps and the fighting force, but as a person as well.”

On the opposite end of the base is another woman who oversees her own team, as well. Working as Staff Judge Advocate for NAS Meridian, Lieutenant Black spends her days diving deep into military law to help protect the base in legal matters.

“It really ranges. One day you could be working on an issue related to someone trying to give a gift of real estate to the base, and the next day you could be looking at HIPPA concerns for disclosure of certain records. It’s always something new,” said Lieutenant Sara Black. Both of these women agree that the military has changed them and that in being a woman, the military has shown them that no matter your background—you, are part of the team.

“Whether it’s within the community of attorneys or within the instillation where we have engineers, safety officers, pilots—everyone is equally respected and show up every day willing to give 110 percent, said Lt. Black. “That is an incredibly motivated environment to work in and to show up every day to be a part of this team.”

“Being that Marine just exemplifies my personality—just seeing myself twelve years ago to now and being able to adapt and overcome any situation is absolutely amazing,” said Staff Sgt. Drayton.

LT. Sara Black joined the Navy in 2014 after interning at the White House. She will be transferring to Washington D.C. in June. Staff Sgt. Drayton joined the Marines in 2007 and will be here at NAS Meridian for the next three years. Both women come from a long-line of military-serving families.



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