There are two stories here, one is about a unique young woman and the other about a unique airborne asset in the Air Force arsenal.
Both stories are about to become one.
The first story is about now 2nd Lt. Andrea Lewis. Lt. Lewis grew up in a family of flyers, so it is no surprise that she would be interested in flying from a very young age. Her father served 14 years as a Marine Corps pilot and then flew for American Airlines for 22 years. Her mother had a career as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines based out of Atlanta, Georgia.
Lewis originally joined the Air Force Reserves in January 2010 and served as an Air Force flight attendant. When her father died, she made the decision to move up into the cockpit as a pilot. In order to do this she attended Officer Candidate School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama in 2015. After OCS she entered the Undergraduate Pilot Training School at Vance AFB in Oklahoma and graduated in 2017 as a 1st Lt. at which time she also made history.
She became the first black female pilot in the 116th Air Control Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard. She pilots the E-8C Joint STARS platform. This is the only unit in the U.S. Air Force that operates the E-8C Joint STARS mission.
2nd Lt. Lewis will soon be deployed overseas.
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The E-8C Joint STARS is a truly unique asset in our warfighting capabilities One of its most important abilities is made possible by a powerful “side-looking” radar system that can oversee, locate, and track moving objects behind enemy lines.
It can overlook and manage a corps-sized battlefield area and even detect any possible enemy assets long range with a 360 degree view. In other words it is an aerial platform for managing a wide spectrum battlefield situation that can bring in and direct any and all necessary assets to deal with whatever the enemy presents as a challenge to the troops on the ground.
A short film showing the capabilities and the unique value of this platform is included in this article.
This is the plane that 2nd Lt. Lewis will be piloting when she is deployed in the near future. Deployment information is not available to the public, for obvious reasons. Lewis’ dream of becoming a pilot has come to fruition. We are certain that her father would be proud of her history making accomplishments.
The Veterans Site congratulates 2nd Lt. Andrea Lewis in becoming a pilot in the 116th Air Control Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard.
We thank you for your tenacity and your desire to serve your state and the nation in such an important capacity and for making history as the 1st Black female pilot in the Georgia ANG. Your tenacity and skills are an example of the 116th Air Control Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard motto: “Vincet Amor Patriae” (Love of Country Shall Conquer).
Fly high and win, 2nd Lt. Lewis!
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.