Women’s History Month- 2: Just 10 women make up elite cadre of B-2 pilots

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In the B-2’s 30 year history, there have been nearly 700 people airborne in the two-person cockpit of the $2.2 billion stealth bomber. About 500 of them have been pilots, only 10 of whom have been women.

The 10th woman to become a B-2 pilot, Capt. Lauren Kram, graduated from her training course at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Oct. 4, 2019.

“Nine incredible women have come before me, blazing this trail,” Kram says. “I feel honored to be among them and I know there will be many more of us that follow.”

Their collective story began 19 years ago in 2002. Each has a common theme of strength, perseverance, making a long-time dream come true, and inspiring future generations.

During the month of March, we will be featuring the 10 women.

Number Two: Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin, Spirit Number 279

Kristin Goodwin is a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word.

She became the Air Force’s first female bomb wing commander in 2014 when she led the nation’s oldest bomber unit, located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Later, she served as the commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, only the second woman to do so, and as a senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., before that.

The path she forged began at Whiteman Air Force Base, where Goodwin was stationed when she flew the B-2.

On the day of her “dollar ride,” Feb. 12, 2002, Goodwin became airborne just after the B-2 flown by Capt. Jennifer Avery had also taken off from the base’s runway in rural Missouri. Up until that day, more than 200 pilots had flown the stealth bomber since it first took flight in 1989, but all had been men.

Goodwin has pointed to her mother’s 20 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, among many other family members’ military service, including her father and both grandfathers, as her inspiration.

“Family taught me about service, they taught me about sacrifice, and they also taught me about being part of something that’s bigger than myself,” Goodwin told the Shreveport Times in 2014. “They’ve been my role models. They’ve been the embodiment of patriotism, and also have taught me what it means to sacrifice for our nation.”

As a child, Goodwin has said she dreamed of flying planes in the Air Force. She graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1993 and went on to fly the C-130, B-52, B-2 and trainer jets, accumulating thousands of hours as a pilot. She also became a prominent leader, and an inspiration.

According to the Barksdale AFB archives, an Airman who worked with Goodwin said in 2016, “You have also shown us that it is possible to be a mother, spouse and respected professional. That example is something that will stay with me and continue to inspire me to push forward in my aspirations as an Airman, mother and spouse, to create balance in a world that is full of pressure and stress. If Col. Goodwin can do it, so can I!”

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