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Today's women forge tomorrow's leaders

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashley Haney is the 58th Airlift Squadron training flight commander. The commitment to her dream, the courage to follow her heart and her bold character fueled Haney’s drive to achieve her goals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jesse Lopez/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashley Haney is the 58th Airlift Squadron training flight commander. The commitment to her dream, the courage to follow her heart and her bold character fueled Haney’s drive to achieve her goals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jesse Lopez/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashley Haney held nothing back as she forged her path to achieve her dream job.

"Nov. 16, 2007 was the day I graduated pilot training. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work both in college and a year of pilot training," said Haney, who is a training flight commander at the 58th Airlift Squadron.

Since then, she has been to two duty stations and deployed three times, delivering cargo around the world.
"Assignment night in pilot training is when I learned that I would be flying the plane I wanted to fly," said Haney. "It's rare that people are so lucky. Looking back, this one night determined a lot about my future in the Air Force."

As one of only five female pilots on Altus AFB, Haney knows significant women in history have paved the way for women like her to pursue their dream and reach their potential.

"One of my favorite heroines is Amelia Earhart. She was a pioneer for women in aviation and was willing to push the envelope," said Haney. "She was a woman who followed her passion. It's obvious by the legacy she left that she did what she loved."

However, Haney's belief in following her heart stems from a hero in the not so distant past.

"My mom was very supportive of anything I wanted to do. She followed her dreams and became a teacher," said Haney. "She never said anything like, 'You can't do that because you're a girl.' I think because I never heard anything like that growing up, I never really considered being a girl as an obstacle to overcome."

The commitment to her dream, the courage to follow her heart and her bold character fueled Haney's drive to achieve her goals.

"Initially, I wanted to be an archaeologist, then a paleontologist and finally an astronaut. I quickly realized that being an astronaut was out of the picture because I wasn't as good at math as I needed to be. I had always wanted to fly in preparation for being an astronaut, so becoming a pilot was something I had also aspired to do," said Haney.

She now teaches the next generation of military pilots and prepares them for real operations.

"The most important aspect of our mission here at Altus is training students. Whether it is teaching them how to air refuel, land assaults or execute airdrop, it's about getting the cargo where it needs be," said Haney. "I love flying and teaching students. It's great to see when students have the light bulb go off and I know that it occurred, in part, because of me as an instructor."