Wednesday, April 6, 2011
FIRST All-female Air Force team, the -Strike Eagles of 'Dudette 07- BOMB TALIBAN -Make History!
U.S. Air Force photoCapt. Jennifer Morton performs a preflight inspection before taking off March 29 on the historic all-female combat misison. Take our PollGender & the military
The "Strike Eagles of 'Dudette 07'" roared down a runway and flew into history last week as the first-ever all-female combat mission.
The two F-15E jets - two-manned by a pair of female pilots and a pair of female weapon systems officers - took off from Bagram Air Force Base for a sortie over Afghanistan, the Air Force reported Monday.
"I have flown with female pilots before, but this was the first time I have flown in an all-female flight," Maj. Christine Mau told the Air Force's news service.
"This wasn't a possibility when I started flying 11 years ago."....
The other pioneering flyers were Maj. Tracy Schmidt, Capt. Leigh Larkin and Capt. Jennifer Morton.
While the mission was timed to coincide with Women's History Month, which was in March, it was serious business with the jets flying in support of a large Army operation underway in the Kunar Valley.
Maj. Tracy Schmidt, Capt. Leigh Larkin, Maj. Christine Mau and Capt. Jennifer Morton pose for the camera before their mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Morton, a weapons officer on the mission, said the crew was instructed to provide support for ground troops that had been taking on enemy fire and dodging bombs.
"We were going to support the guys on the ground by probably making some noise, and most likely we were going to have to drop some bombs," Morton said.
She said she can often hear surprise in the voices of male ground troops coordinating with her on where to provide air support.
"I knew for a fact that a lot of the...Army guys on the ground don't hear women's voices very much. So sometimes that's kind of exciting for them to hear our voices," Morton said.
"So, for all four of us being female was definitely nice for the ground guys to hear that they had women protecting them," Morton said.
The Air Force began allowing women to take part in pilot training in 1976.
But it wasn't until 1993 when a female pilot, 2nd Lt. Jeannie Flynn, flew a combat mission.
"Since 1993, we have had Air Force female pilots in combat positions, and because of that today I feel as a woman I can have whatever job I want," Morton said.