Archive for June, 2012
In 1993, Col. Jeannie Leavitt became the first female fighter pilot of the U.S. Air Force. In less than 20 years, she has been tapped as a commander of an Air Force combat fighter wing. Leavitt is the first woman to hold such position.
“It helped that once we started flying, people began to see that we were there because of our abilities and not our gender,” Leavitt said in an exclusive telephone interview with The Associated Press. “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.”
Leavitt has flown more than 2,500 hours with the F-15 Strike Eagle, including 300 hours of combat flying mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 through the ROTC program of Univeristy of Texas where she earned an aerospace engineering degree. Since then, Leavitt had earned four more masters degree and several military medals, including a Bronze Star.
Col. Jeannie Leavitt has served as an instructor at the elite Air Force Weapons School where she was also the first female graduate. She had also served one year in Washington, D.C., on a special assignment with the CIA. She also as a commander of a fighter squadron and deputy commander of an operations group in Afghanistan.
With her new position, Col. Jeannie Leavitt will take over the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Base, handling one of the three military units that operate F-15Es. She will be in charge of the wing’s 5,000 men and women on active duty.
News source: abcnews.go.com