Air Force

June 1, 2012

Angels over Kyrgyzstan

Tags:
by Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols
374 Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs
Angels deploy to
(Left to right)Airman 1st Class Tracy Johnson, boom operator, Maj. Kristen Westby, pilot and 1st Lt. Melissa Evans, co-pilot, all with the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, pose in front of a KC-135 Stratotanker before taking off for a refueling mission April 19, 2012, Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Johnson and Westby are deployed here from the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Evans is deployed here from the 912th Air Refueling Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols)

TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan — With only 19 percent of the Air Force being female and of that, only five percent of those females being pilots, it is not often that you hear of an all-female flight crew, especially while being deployed.

“Angel flight,” an all-female aircrew deployed to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, had the opportunity to fly an in-flight refueling mission together on a KC-135 Stratotanker.

In the late hours of April 19, Maj. Kristen Westby, pilot, 1st Lt. Melissa Evans, co-pilot and Airman 1st Class Tracy Johnson, boom operator, successfully refueled three coalition forces F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Westby and Johnson are deployed from the 93d Air Refueling Squadron Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., while Evans is deployed from the 912th Air Refueling Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.

This flight was special for Westby, a pilot for 12 years and Johnson, a boom operator for two years, because it was the first all-female flight for both of them.

“I love flying together, Maj. Westby is like a big sister and role model to me, so it has been pretty awesome,” Johnson said. “I also enjoy flying with 1st Lt. Evans, she’s pretty cool, so it made the “angel flight” that much more exciting.”

Westby, who has more than 2,500 flying hours, said, “It’s a lot of fun to fly with “just the girls.” We love our regular crew but sometimes it’s nice to be able to have girl talk,” she said. “It’s just fun and different.”

Johnson and Westby deployed together with a male co-pilot from their home station, while Evans deployed with a male pilot and boom operator. Even though flying together isn’t something the three females do very often, this was an opportunity to learn from one another.

“I feel it’s important to have female role models to learn something new from their perspective,” Westby said. “It’s important to take the opportunity to learn from other crews and take those experiences with you.”

Johnson agreed, “I think it’s important to remember the past and how hard women have worked to do what we do today,” she said. “I think it’s a great way to pay tribute to the people who worked so hard to get us where we are at today.”

During the mission, the crew delivered 18,000 pounds of fuel. Each aircraft received an average of 6,000 pounds.
Even though the crew has a tough job to do, they also take the time to enjoy each other’s company.

“We had so much fun having our girl talk and not worrying about the guys rolling their eyes,” Westby said. “It also helped that we had all worked together at some point before, so things were not awkward, we just fit right in with each other.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin

Jones assumes command of 304th SBDE

U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin Col. Robin Jones, incoming 304th Sustainment Brigade commander, accepts the unit colors from Brig. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command commanding genera...
 
 
Untitled-1

Creating a lifestyle of health and fitness

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Neil Ballecer Senior Airman Coral Williams, 163rd Comptroller Flight, begins a run on the March Air Reserve Base track, April 7. Running is one of the many cardiovascular exercises Williams partic...
 
 

March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center closes soon

The March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center will remain open for filing taxes until April 30, 2014. With the formal tax season now over, the March VITA Tax Center has prepared approximately 800 returns, saving nearly $100K in preparation fees, and clients have received back more than $850 thousand in combined state and federal refunds,...
 

 

Reveille: Continuing a proud military tradition

Reveille is a French word that literally means “wake up” and is traditionally played at sunrise on military installations. Here at March ARB, the 452nd Security Forces Squadron raises the national flag during reveille at 7:30 a.m. each day. The practice of reveille can be traced back to the French army, which used a form...
 
 

UPCOMING TICKETS AND TOURS EVENTS

Some restrictions apply. Times are approximate. MAY Date: May 1 Event: Price Is Right Cost: $16 per person Depart: 6:30 a.m. Return: 5:30 p.m. Description / Restrictions: Come on down to be a contestant on The Price Is Right and take your chances at becoming the big showcase winner. Ages 18 and up Deadline for...
 
 

VA disability claims backlog drops by 44 percent

One year after the backlog of pending disability compensation claims peaked at over 611,000 in March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reduced that number by approximately 44 percent to 344,000 claims, a reduction of more than 267,000, while at the same time improving the accuracy of the decisions being made on veterans’...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin