Gucci Girls Form An All-Female “Unmanned” Flight Crew For the Air Force
You’d think that with only one female Boeing KC–10 flight engineer in the U.S. Air Force, it would be hard to imagine an all-female flight crew. But with a little logistical tweaking, the Gucci Girls were formed, becoming a rare all-female operating a refueling tanker in the Middle East. The team also marks the first time that reservists and active duty personnel have flown on the same aircraft together. And, yes, they are making jokes about their “unmanned” refueling tanker.
The girls-only crew has been building up a great rapport and chemistry with each other, which is helping morale and creating a new generation of military role models for young girls. Upon reaching combat crews in need of fuel, the “unmanned” jokes have been providing a respite from the darker nature of war. And even though it wasn’t easy to get the group together, that singular female engineer, Staff Sgt. Sarah Lockley, said that their first mission was “awesome.” The pilot of that KC-10, 1st Lt. Jen Carter, noted that rather than trying to be the first all-female crew, it was more about boosting morale than anything else. And Staff Sgt. Lindy Campbell, a boom operator and flight air refueler for the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), said that she wasn’t going to miss the chance to fly with all women.
“I’ve always wanted to do this. We work in a male-dominated career field, so when we figured it was possible to do it here, I jumped at the opportunity. It was nice to fly with my sisters.”
908th EARS, KC–10 aircraft commander Capt. Lindsey Bauer said it was also a nice change of pace to work with all women.
“Nothing against guys, but we had a relaxing time. Having four girls in the cockpit was nice. We were all on the same level. It was a break from guys.”
But one of the best observations came from a male perspective — also a paternal perspective. Lt. Col. Kenneth Moss, the 908th EARS commander said that the assembly of an all-female crew was a rare occurrence, but would have a big impact in the long run:
“The role of women in the military has increased greatly over the years, and the presence of women in all [Air Force specialty codes] has expanded to the point that sometimes we forget how far they have had to come. However, my young daughter unintentionally reminds me every day that she needs women to look up to; she needs women to prove that nothing is impossible; she needs female role models. I think an all-female crew shows her that another potential obstacle to her dreams no longer exists.”
And with their specially-designed Gucci Girls patches sewn onto the shoulders of their uniforms, these woman are breaking down walls for girls who didn’t even consider this to be an option for them. We salute you, Gucci Girls!
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