Rita Jordan

Finding a fit in a nontraditional role

Air Force allowed Air Academy Federal’s Rita Jordan a chance to grow, help others.

November 14, 2019

In the mid-1970s, military branches encouraged women to seek nontraditional career fields.

For Rita Jordan, who joined the U.S. Air Force through her college’s ROTC program in 1974, that nontraditional field wasn’t something she expected.

“What I got was munitions maintenance. Working with bombs. So nontraditional,” says Jordan, a board member and supervisory committee liaison at $585 million asset Air Academy Federal Credit Union in Colorado Springs, Colo. “My undergrad degree was in English, so I always laugh. Maybe they thought I should be in munitions because I could read checklists very well.”

It turned out to be a good fit for Jordan. She worked in munitions for 10 years before crossing over into aircraft maintenance, where she worked on B-52s, KC-135s, and FB-111s.

Jordan also had the opportunity to continue her education and then teach at the Air Force Academy.

“I just loved the Academy,” she says. “Impacting the Air Force at a much earlier stage, when they’re trying to figure out what to do rather than when folks are already in the Air Force.”

While at the Academy, she taught in the management department, where one of the core courses focused on budgets and financial responsibility. She also headed the department before she retired as a brigadier general after 35 years in the Air Force in 2008.

 “I had every intention of spending only four or five years in the military,” Jordan says. “But I felt that I was helping others to figure out what their life goals should be and how to help them solve problems when they have them.

“The military gives you a lot of opportunity to grow up,” she continues. “You can be whatever you want to be. If you set your sights on something, the military—at least for me—helps you achieve that.”

Jordan joined the supervisory committee at Air Academy Federal in 2011 and the board of directors in 2014. The experience has given her an opportunity to continue to educate members and present solutions to financial issues.

“In the military, I was put into situations where I sometimes felt I needed to learn a lot,” she says. “By being on the board and supervisory committee, the credit union has allowed me to give my thoughts on things that we could offer as a credit union.”

► Click here for more coverage of the Salute to Veterans on CUNA News.