Another First for the First Female Fighter Pilot
Here it is:
She was the first woman to be tapped to train as a fighter pilot.
She became the U.S. Air Force’s first female fighter pilot.
She was the first female to graduate from the U.S. Air Force’s elite Weapons School
Now, Col. Jeannie Leavitt becomes the first woman to take command of an Air Force combat fighter wing, the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, one of only three units of F-15Es, where she will command the wing’s 5,000 active-duty men and women.
The 45-year-old colonel has a 20-year Air Force career behind her, which includes more than 2,500 hours in the F-15 Strike Eagle, 300 of those hours flying in combat, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. At Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, she also served as commander of a fighter squadron and deputy commander of an operations group. She has been awarded a number of military medals, including the Bronze Star.
Married to another Air Force Colonel and the mother of two children, Leavitt is pragmatic about all her “firsts.”
She tells the Associated Press:
It helped that once we started flying, people began to see that we were there because of our abilities and not our gender … I don’t see it as a `first’ sort of thing. I see it as an incredible opportunity, an incredible honor, to lead a unit with its history and heritage.
Col. Leavitt assumed command of the 4th Fighter Wing from Col. Patrick Doherty during a change-of-command ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., on Friday, June 1.
Image: Courtesy U.S. Air Force , by Airman 1st Class Aubrey Robinson