Master Sgt. Engle Coulter of Hiram is a member of the security force — the military police — for the U.S. Air Force.
“We guard the [planes],” she said.
She also is the reigning Mrs. Paulding County, and has competed twice for the title of Mrs. Georgia America – the latest time earlier this summer at the Roswell Cultural Center. She plans to compete again in 2014.
Coulter, a member of the 94th Security Forces Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, uses the pageants to raise awareness for the Wounded Warriors Project and to help get disabled veterans track chairs — wheelchairs designed for all terrains.
The 39-year-old is a mother of two and a 20-year veteran who has seen three tours in her career, in Bahrain in 1995, Saudi Arabia in 2003 and Iraq in 2010.
“I grew up in the military lifestyle,” Coulter said. “I’m a military brat.”
After Coulter returned from her tour in Iraq husband Roy Coulter, who is a retired Air Force master sergeant, suggested she compete in a beauty pageant for married women. At first she said no.
He said he always saw his wife as beautiful, but when she came back her “inner glow” of beauty was shining, he said.
“The first time was more me,” he said. “The second time was more her.”
Mrs. Coulter is a native of Biloxi, Miss., and moved a lot as a child because her mother and father were in the Air Force. Coulter is the third generation of her family to go into the military. Her grandfather was in the Navy.
“I joined because that is the only life I knew,” she said.
Coulter said she liked the security of the military, but did not expect to make it her career.
“It was good life experience,” she said.
When she started in the military she was in administration support, but decided to cross train to become a security force member.
“You don’t see many women in the career field as a cop,” Coulter said.
She is the only senior ranking female in her squadron and supervises 24 soldiers.
During her time, she said, she has had to overcome stereotypes of women in the military – proving she can handle the physical and psychological demands of the job as well as her male counterparts.
She said she plans to retire in five years, and hopes to be at the rank of chief master sergeant, which is the highest rank an enlisted member can reach.
However, she has already reached her ultimate goal of becoming a master sergeant, which is what her father was when he retired, Coulter said.
Her husband said he is impressed that she can juggle her career, being a wife, a mother of two and still find time for the pageant.
“The time management is there,” he said.