1st Lt. Andrea Lewis has made history as the first black female pilot in the Georgia Air National Guard.
According to Fox 5, Lewis’ first official take-off as a military pilot is planned for February. When she leaves the landing strip at Robins Air Force Base, she’ll be setting a historical precedent, though it’s easy to see that flying runs in the 1st. Lieutenant’s blood.
Lewis’ father was a 14-year veteran pilot in the Marine Corps before flying commercially for American Airlines. And, her mother works as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines.
“You could say that aviation and serving others is in my DNA,” Lewis said. “It is something I always knew I wanted to be a part of.”
Lewis hired as an Air Force flight attendant in 2010, only the second time in history that a civilian has been selected for the position. When her father died, she knew she wanted to follow that path further.
“I have wanted to be a pilot for a very long time. After my father passed away, I knew it was time for me to take the steps needed to become a pilot and realize my dreams,” Lewis said. “I know it would have made my father proud.”
Lewis began her military training at Georgia ANG, 116th ACW, in 2014, and was hired as a pilot for the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft. She then attended Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2015 before beginning Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
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“When hiring Lt. Lewis, I saw her tenacity and a drive to accomplish her goal,” said Col. Ato Crumbly, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing. “She has already made a tremendous impact in our unit and there is no question she will continue to be successful.”
When Lewis finally got her wings in 2017, she was exuberant.
“It is my dream job, one I hoped for and set my sights to accomplish,” she said. “When I got my wings I couldn’t believe it finally was happening, I said to my mom, ‘I finally made it!'”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.