"You've got a pretty exciting job," I said. "Making rescues with the Coast Guard and all."
"Yeah, real exciting," she said. It didn't sound like she meant it.
"It's not?" I asked.
"It would be if they actually let me do it once in a while. It's not easy getting the call, being a woman and all."
"That's not fair," I said. "If you've got the chops, you should be flying the mission."
"You know how many times I've told them that? But they'd rather trot me out on these public relations tours where I won't get scratched. Heck I'm a better flier than most of the boys in my squad, but because I'm a woman, well, I don't get the chance."
What do you think she means by "getting the call" here? Does "the call" mean the call (order) to fly for a mission? And "the chops" seems to mean talent. Have any idea why it came to be used this way? More important, is it a common expression?

Thanks in advance!