97 AMW Airmen participate in 2023 Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heidi Bucins
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from Altus Air Force Base attended the Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day at Will Rogers Air National Guard Air Base, Oklahoma, Dec. 8, 2023.

The event was held to highlight and honor women who have paved a way for others through their contributions to the aerospace and aviation industry within the state of Oklahoma.

The date of the event also marks the birthday of renowned Chickasaw aviator from Marlow, Oklahoma, Pearl Carter Scott, who learned to fly at 12 years old and went on to become the youngest pilot in the United States.

Participants from military installations, high schools and the public sector all over the state were able to experience aircraft static displays, speaker panels, and a luncheon.

Aircrew from the 97th Air Mobility Wing flew a C-17 Globemaster III from Altus AFB to the event to showcase an aircraft for local students to experience.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Megan Edson, 97th Air Mobility Wing AIM Wing program director, expressed the importance of participating in the event.

“This event served not only as a way to celebrate our Airmen stationed at Altus, but also as a way to support and uplift students across the region,” said Edson. “The C-17 static aircraft display we operated was done by an all female crew in order to inspire the next generation of female aviators.”

At the event, retired U.S. Air Force Col. and former NASA astronaut Eileen M. Collins was honored as one of the 2023 Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day women of the year and guest speaker. During her speech, Collins shared some advice to the audience on how to pursue new endeavors.

“Courage is really overcoming the fear of what other people might think of you,” said Collins. “My advice to young people is to have the courage to take the first step.”

Airman 1st Class Chloe Finnegan, 97th Communications Squadron client systems journeyman, shared how Collins’ career has inspired her to pursue aviation training.

“One of my earliest memories was watching NASA space shuttles on television and being in awe, so it was surreal for me to meet one of the four women who broke barriers for female aviators and later became the first woman to command a space mission,” said Finnegan. “Her contributions motivated me to apply and be selected for training to fly in the Air Force through the Rated Preparatory Program.”