A Huntington Beach woman was part of the first combat sortie to involve only females.
Captain Jennifer Morton was part of a two-ship formation composed of two female pilots and two female weapons officers when the “Strike Eagles of 'Dudette
07' ” took to the skies over Afghanistan on March 30.
A release from Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's Public Affairs office quotes Lt. Col. Kenneth Tilley, the wing's historian, saying the mission represented the first combat sortie on record to involve
only female airmen from the pilots and weapons officers to the mission
planners and maintainers.
The mission was inspired by Women's History Month, but the goal was to provide air support
for coalition and Afghan forces under enemy fire in Kunar Valley, near the Pakistan
“We knew we were going to support the guys
on the ground by probably at the very least making some noise, and most
likely that we were going to have to drop some bombs,” Morton
says in the statement.
“All four of us being females, that was
definitely nice for the ground guys to hear that they had, you know,
women protecting them of course. Not that we're any different from the
guys, but it's just a guy thing that they like to hear that sometimes.”
The weapons officer's F-15E jet was piloted by Maj. Christine Mau, a Southern California native and the 455th AEW's executive officer. “I have flown with female pilots
before, but this was the first time I have flown in an all-female
flight,” Mau says in the release. “This wasn't a possibility when I started
flying 11 years ago.”
Maj. Tracy Schmidt piloted the other F-15E with weapons officer Capt. Kimberly Volk aboard.
Morton deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.