A Role Model for All Airmen

The Air Force’s first woman pilot to fly in combat—Col. Martha McSally—talked briefly on her place in Air Force history while attending Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., paying homage to the women who flew for the military during World War II and recalling how, in 1984, her first flight instructor laughed when she said she would become a fighter pilot. Some seven years later, the Air Force tapped McSally as one of the first seven women to enter fighter training. Since then, she flew combat patrols over the Iraq no-fly zones and became the first woman to command a fighter squadron, the 354th Fighter Squadron, an A-10 unit at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., which won the Air Force Association’s David C. Schilling Award for its performance in Afghanistan. The 18-year veterans notes: “I hope I’m a role model to both men and women because we are a fighting force and should not be concerned with differences between us.”