FIJI born warrior Alisi Elenoa Jacinta Taka has every reason to be proud of her achievement- being one of only a few local women selected to serve in the greatest Air Force on the planet.
But despite being trained and serving in the United States (US), the Nakelo, Tailevu, native is proud of her identity and the land of her birth.
Speaking to the Fiji Times, the former St Joseph's Secondary School student said serving in the US Air Force has allowed her to realise that women are capable of performing the same tasks done by men.
"I joined the US Air Force for a change. I wanted to do something different and worthwhile — service to the nation and respect for human dignity with lifelong development and contributions," Ms Taka said.
"No woman should be told that she can't do a man's job because I have experienced it and it's not that hard at all as long as you put your mind and heart in everything you're doing and most importantly be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared before committing to a challenge."
"I migrated to the US with my mum Helen Chandra in February, 2008 and continued my tertiary education here in Solano College, California before enlisting in the United States Air Force on April 2009. I was accepted into the Community College of the Air Force to pursue an Associate in Applied Science Degree."
"I am a proud US citizen and very dearly cherish Fiji in my heart, wherever I go I will always remember where I come from. I am very proud of my culture and tradition because it defines who I am.
"I thank my family here and back home for moulding me into a strong young woman," she said.
The 23-year-old said she was blessed to be serving among some of the greatest airmen fighting for freedom.
Based at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi Ms Taka works as a medical technician and is also pursuing a radiology degree at Mississippi Gulf Coast College.
"I am also part of the Keesler Base Honor Guard Team that provides military honours for deserving veterans, retirees, and active duty members on behalf of the President, Department of the Air Force and a grateful nation; in a dignified and professional manner reflecting the dedicated and faithful service rendered by our Comrades who have left our side," she said.
"Not every member serving gets this opportunity but I'm grateful that my leaders had confidence in me and chose me to represent my flight."
"I had countless cherished moments that I am very grateful for and I'd like to share a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. 'You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face'."