Michele Harper

Torn between her deep desire to serve and the equally powerful yearning to be present for her family

This WorkingNation documentary examines the tough career choices some women in the military face

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of women’s integration into the U.S. Armed Forces, this new WorkingNation film follows the emotional journey of trailblazing military and aviation pioneer Michele Harper as she makes the tough decision to transition from an illustrious career of service into full-time motherhood.

Raised with unwavering support from her parents who instilled in her the belief that she could achieve anything she dreamed of becoming, Michele found her calling in the skies after learning about the female instructor pilots for the male fighter pilots of World War I. Their legacy sparked her journey as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, where she found profound fulfillment in saving lives.

Her dedication and drive to serve for more than 30 years led her to become the first female Black Hawk Assault Company Commander, first female Aviation Battalion Commander, and first female Aviation Brigade Commander in North Carolina’s National Guard.

Despite her love for both motherhood and service, Michele faced a critical juncture, balancing her devotion to her three boys with the demands of military duty. She grappled with sacrificing personal first milestones for her groundbreaking career firsts. Her decision to transition into full-time motherhood to be with her three boys before they head off to college symbolizes a poignant shift in priorities.

This documentary highlights the challenges and sacrifices faced by women navigating the demands of high-stakes careers and family life.

When Is Your Service Enough (Full Documentary)

This compelling short documentary follows US Army Colonel Michele Harper (retired). Having shattered barriers and soared through the skies in counter-drug missions, hurricane relief efforts, and the war in Iraq, Michele now faces the challenging transition to civilian life, where her focus turns to making up for lost time with her three boys before they leave for college.

Watch Michele Harper’s story here.