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Female B-2 pilot makes history

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Capt. Jennifer Wilson, a B-2 Spirit pilot, is the first female B-2 pilot to fly a combat mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Freeland)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Capt. Jennifer Wilson, a B-2 Spirit pilot, is the first female B-2 pilot to fly a combat mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Freeland)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- Military women are continuing to knock down barriers and make history.

Capt. Jennifer Wilson, a B-2 Spirit pilot deployed with the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, landed on the runway April 1 at her forward-deployed location, making her the first female B-2 pilot to fly a combat mission. "Flying is great," Wilson said. "I can't imagine doing anything else right now, and to be able to have a chance to fly in combat with the B-2 was an awesome experience."

Formerly a B-1 Lancer pilot, Operation Iraqi Freedom was not the first time she flew a combat mission, Wilson said. She also flew for Operation Allied Force in Kosovo, one of the first times B-1s were involved in combat.

The 30-year-old Miami native received her commission through the ROTC program at Georgia Technical Institute in June 1995. She attended undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

After more than three years of flying the B-1, Wilson said she wanted to become a B-2 pilot.

"I wanted to have the opportunity to fly what I think is the most premier aircraft," Wilson said.

After a lengthy application and interview process, Wilson was accepted for the B-2 pilot training program in the fall of 2000. She became qualified in April 2002.

"My parents have always been there to encourage me in whatever it was that I wanted to do," Wilson said. "I owe a lot to my family for their support."

"For me, it's exciting to be a part of a chosen few," Wilson said. "I am lucky to be able to have the chance to do something that so few people will ever have the opportunity to do."

Wilson said she believes the B-2 training she and the airmen of the squadron received gave her the confidence to complete the recent combat sortie.

"I wasn't scared," Wilson said. "We've all trained quite a bit leading up to this operation. I knew I was going to be able to come through and get the job done."

After flying here, Wilson said she does not consider the mission a milestone. She said she feels thankful that she deployed with her squadron and the other airmen of the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing who are all working together toward the goal of securing freedom.

"It was just great coming off the plane and seeing the people who came to show me support," Wilson said. "From the maintainers to the operators, I was humbled to see them excited for me. We all work together to make the mission happen."

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