All-female US Air Force team launches historic mission in Afghanistan

April 4th, 2011 - 5:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Bagram Airfield (Afghanistan) Apr.4 (ANI): A team of female US Airmen has made history in Afghanistan, by planning, maintaining and flying the first all-woman combat mission from the Bagram Airfield.

The two-plane mission known as the “Dudette 07″, provided air support for coalition and Afghan ground forces in the Kunar Valley, west of the Pakistan border, in support of a large Army operation that was underway.

Both pilots and both weapons systems officers aboard the F-15E Strike Eagles were women.

Col. Kenneth Tilley, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing historian said that this mission represents the first combat mission on record to involve only female Airmen.

“I have flown with female pilots before, but this was the first time I have flown in an all female flight, this wasn’t a possibility when I started flying 11-years ago,” Defence talk quoted Maj. Christine Mau, a 455th AEW executive officer, as saying.

While planning of the mission required support from women at all levels such as Capt. Kristen Wehle, the F-15 liaison officer at the combined air operations center, those involved evoked memories of legendary Women’s Army Corps pilots and others for inspiration.

“Women’s history means a celebration of the equality we have today in the military,” said Capt. Jennifer Morton, a 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons officer. “It makes me think back and find inspiration from heroes like Col. Jeannie Flynn.”

“The four women officers represents only a portion of the women who supported this mission making it the first all female from tasking to completion combat sortie to date,” said Capt. Leigh Larkin, s 389th EFS weapons systems officer.

“Dudette 07″ was set up as an all-female mission in honour of Women’s History Month. (ANI)

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