In Savannah, the 165th Airlift Wing marks African-American History Month by naming its first female African American pilot. Lt. Thessa Washington, 32, tells us that she never thought she’d be first in anything but is proud that others might see her as a role model. She says in many ways when she was younger she didn’t see the military or being a pilot as her choices.
So when I figured out that I was qualified to do the military and training, I did it, and then when I found out that I could be a pilot, I pursued it and I am here, said Washington Lt. She also invested two years of school and now co-pilots regularly used to carry freight or supplies on the C-130. The Wing flew dozens of missions taking supplies to the ruined island during the Puerto Rico earthquake.
Washington is the first woman actually qualified to pilot theC-130 in Georgia. It’s awesome. It’s really fun for me it’s a bit intimidating the first time you do it, particularly for someone my height, she said. Washington appears to make up for what she may lack in stature in ambition. She also fixed sections on theC-130, when she enlisted back in 2009.
I was a sheet metal maintainer so if it was damaged roke I would fix it, she told us all stuff like this frame in this position. We have now come back full circle. Literally, I started working on things under here. Then I replaced the seats and now I’m going to sit in them. Washington says she never thought she would be a role model for anyone other than her family, and perhaps her young cousins. But outside the family, I didn’t imagine other people wanting to know my story, or talking to me, or taking a picture of me or things like this. She said, I never expected this at all.
As an aircraft controller, Washington does have more experience but claims she’s here to live. So I plan to be here until they’re telling me I’m too old or I’m getting cataracts, she said.