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Trailblazing female pilots say there’s still work to do after breaking military aviation barriers


In 1975 the US Airforce announced it would offer a test programme to see if women could serve as pilots 10 women were selected

Those women were recently honoured as airforce trailblazers Women still make up only a small number of military pilots There's even fewer black female military pilots Women were not allowed to fly combat missions until 1993 The Air Force graduated its first female black fighter pilot in 1999

In the Navy graduated its first black female fighter pilot July 7th of this year [MUSIC] >> In those early years, I thought less about the aspect of being a minority from the perspective of my ethnicity And what stood out to me more was the challenges that came into play with being a female Because at the time we were still just trying to figure out how to have women in fighters And we were talking about like equipment issues, things didn't fit right as we're crossing over to Kuwait not having a way to successfully go to the bathroom, and trying to figure out the details of those kinds of things

And then sitting 24 hour alert, how is that going to integrate with the male and female scenario And so all of those things were exacerbated the challenge of just being a minority female in the community >> The women who broke the gender barriers in the Air Force understand the challenges for female pilots in the military now, and they say there's more work to be done >> There's those restrictions aren't there anymore Your talent, what you bring and what you want to do

That is what we need to promote, I believe, boys, girls, black, white, I try not to look at color I really try not to because I've been on on the other end My first flight my flight engineer looked at me and you look next to me, you talk to me in the third person It goes somebody out to tell her to move her flight back over here Somebody tell her that she should move her kid back to here

Somebody tell her that she ought to do this and that that's how he talked to me For the my first three day flight and I sat there and I thought, I'm just gonna show you that I can do this job And two years later again, I flew with the same gentleman And I almost walked out of the briefing room cuz I thought, am I gonna put up with this path? And then I thought, I'm gonna show the son of a bitch how I can fly this airplane What I've learned in two years, and then we went to the club later on, and we drank some beers and I looked at him and I go, what the hell were you thinking? And he goes, I just wanted to see what you were made of

>> Retired Lieutenant Colonel Mary Livingston, one of the original trailblazers taught men to fly combat fighter tactics she was not allowed to perform herself >> And so they're looking at a woman and they're going, how can this person actually teach me to be a fighter pilot? There was one student that I had and he was about six foot two just about the max height you could be to be fitting into the cockpit, so and so he was he was a pretty big guy, and I was five foot for a row lightweight And so he's convinced that he's going to be able to fly this aircraft much better than this lightweight And so we, and I see it coming and so, with my normal sense of humor I just heard of, smile and we get to the number one for takeoff and you're supposed to run up the engines to max power and check all the engine instruments

Which means you have to hold the breaks He couldn't hold the brakes Anyway, so, [COUGH] I take the aircraft and of course I immediately get the aircraft to stop and I get it all lined back up again And he really, stops on these brakes He puts the power up in your craft just skitters down the runway

[SOUND] I mean it really it's skitters and I let him try about three times and he cannot hold the brakes So we take off, I finally say, okay, I've got the aircraft take off and then after we took off, I gave him the aircraft And of course during the flight, he can't, there's a lot of things he can't do and I'm instructing him and doing all of that and And we land and we go in for the debrief and he goes, okay, how is it that I can't hold the brake and you can? I said, you know what there's a lot that I can teach you and there's a lot that we can do together to make you be a successful pilot Like I said, so you're ready to start

He goes, Yes, ma'am [LAUGH] >> So I think sometimes when you see a woman or a minority woman in a career field and she's maybe the sole one or part of a minority, there is a tendency to think, well, she must be an exception There must be something exceptional about her life, she just must be smarter or she just must be, more talented in this regard and that's what I would like to dispel I want girls to look at me and say I can beat her [BLANK_AUDIO]

Source: Youtube

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