“Persons with a limited world view have told me there are some things I can’t do,” says Army Lt. Christie Plackis, the Army’s fourth female diver. The only voice she listened to was hers: reminding her that failure wasn’t an option.
Q. What did you gain from the experience?
It was encouraging when a male colleague said I had set an example for everyone when I didn’t quit during the required pullups and pushups: 100 of the first and 500 of the second. He told me nobody had an excuse since I did it.
Q. Ever think about quitting?
No. I wanted to. Badly. I was determined that I would have to get kicked out, though.
Q. What do divers in the Army do?
We do everything the Army does, but we do it underwater. We do search and recovery, map areas and locate sunken ships. The rest is classified.
Q. What is hardest about being a female diver?
In training, I was given a different locker room and missed sharing information; I had to make up for it by staying two steps ahead. For example, if there were changes in the uniform, I had to make time to find that out as well.
Q. What is it like to be a female in a male-dominated career?
There are things people don’t think about. Women will understand what I mean. You have to be creative. For example, hair gets in my face, so I have to handle the problem without it being brought up.
Q. What do you do for fun?
I spin fire; it is called poi. Kind of like batons with fireballs on the end.