SAN ANTONIO - In a crowded room at Joint Base San Antonio - Randolph Air Force Base, it looks like the airmen inside are playing a high tech video game. Unlike a video game, however, these service members are training to fly a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).
"I have never turned down an opportunity my whole career which, I think, is part of the reason why I'm able to be where I am right now," Tech Sergeant Courtney said.
We cannot use her name for safety reasons, but Tech Sergeant Courtney is the first-ever RPA female enlisted pilot. Until 2015, only officers could fly RPA, but the demand for pilots forced the Air Force to make a change.
"We haven't had enlisted aviators since World War II," Initial Qualification Instructor Pilot Major Lindsay said. "This is a phenomenal opportunity for both Courtney and all other enlisted aviators to be able to stand up here."
"I'm proud to be able to fill that role," Tech. Sgt. Courtney added. "I'm excited for what it holds and, hopefully, it encourages other young women. It's also nerve-racking because I don't want to just be the first female pilot. I want to be a good pilot regardless of whether I'm a female or male."
Courtney is a wife and mother of two who's been in the Air Force for more than a decade. On Friday, she officially graduated the Enlisted Pilot Initial Class (EPIC), making her the first-ever enlisted female pilot to take the controls.
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