A beautiful, crystal clear photo of an F-15E Strike Eagle piloted by Colonel Jeannie Leavitt — the first US Air Force female combat fighter pilot and the first commander of a combat fighter wing. This was her last refuelling and her final flight — on May 29, 2014 — after 2600 hours flying this beautiful jet.
Col. Leavitt commands the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. According to the USAF, it's one of the largest fighter wings in the United States Air Force — she's responsible for 5,700 men and women, $US5.1 billion in aeroplanes and equipment, and a yearly $US240 million maintenance budget.
She leads one of the largest fighter wings in the United States Air Force, consisting of nearly 5,700 Airmen and civilians and home to the multi-role, all-weather F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft which are assigned to two operational and two training fighter squadrons, flying over 15,000 sorties and 24,000 hours a year. SJAFB teams with and provides overall host support for an Air Force Reserve Command KC-135R wing with an active duty squadron. Wing assets total $US5.1 billion with an annual operations and maintenance budget of $US240 million.
Here's a photo shortly after her graduation in 1993:
Col. Leavitt flew a total of 300 combat hours over Afghanistan and Iraq. She also has three masters degrees: An MBA from Auburn University, a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College.
The first female pilot who was in combat was Colonel Martha E. McSally, now retired. She flew an A-10 Warthog in 1991 during the Gulf War — a plane used for close ground troops support. Amazingly enough, until that moment no female pilots were allowed to fly in combat missions. She also became the first woman to command a fighter squadron.