SAN ANTONIO — A pilot who broke barriers is happy to call San Antonio home after decades of service in the military and working at a popular airline.
Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio has spent decades in the sky.
Under her belt, she has eight years of active duty service in the Air Force, 16 years on reserve and two decades as a commercial airline Captain.
Custodio broke more than one glass ceiling in her career. She was the first Hispanic, female pilot in the military and for American Airlines.
She did it all while still taking care of a family of her own.
“I think being assertive as a woman came from my mom, she’s a very strong woman,” said Custodio. “She taught me that men and women were equal.”
Custodio who is retired now, says she’s accomplished a lot but recalls hitting a plenty of turbulence early on.
She says when trainers seemed to grade her differently, it merely lit a fire in her to succeed.
Barriers merely redirected her path on her journey to fulfill a dream to be a member of the military. Custodio gleaned insight on the way which she uses today to encourage young people today.
“It’s a matter of not me mentoring them directly but for them to find and surround themselves with people who support them and see that they have the vision for them to succeed,” said Custodio.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas group invited Custodio to share her journey and wisdom as part of their mentor speaking series #WhoMentoredYou.
“She wasn’t going to quit until she got what she wanted, the job she wanted,” said Eric Lewis, a little brother in the program who attended the event. “That’s what I’m going to take away.”
Custodio’s passion for the military and serving her country is something that she picked up from her veteran dad. She now shares that zeal with the world.
“We are in the best country in the world.”