By Debbie Gregory.
Meet the first female F-35 fighter jet pilot.
Lt. Col. Christine Mau, the 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group deputy commander, piloted her first training flight in the state of the art jet, following 14 virtual training missions in the mission simulator.
Mau is an experienced pilot who has served with the Air Force overseas. In 2011, she was a member of the service’s first all-female combat-mission team, which included pilots, weapons-systems officers and mission planners in the Kunar Valley of Afghanistan.
“Flying is a great equalizer,” Mau said in a statement. “The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform.”
Women have served in combat aviation roles in those and other aircraft for more than 20 years. Mau joked that the only difference between her and her male colleagues is the size of her G-suit and face mask.
Mau acknowledged that although she may be the first female in the F-35 program, gender has no bearing on her performance as a fighter pilot. It was Mau’s combat experience and technical prowess in the cockpit that were the primary draws for her selection to her position with the 33rd OG.
“As a service, we need to attract the most innovative and skillful Airmen possible for one reason; it makes us more effective,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, the 33rd FW commander. “The broader the net that we cast into the talent pool, coupled with a laser focus on performance, ensures we have the best Airmen in place to carry out the mission. Performance is key, and it’s the standard we hold all of our Airmen to in the Air Force. Lt. Col. Mau brings a valuable level of combat and operational knowledge to our team. ”
We wish Mau all the best as she takes to the skies.
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Military Connection: Mau is First Female F-35 Pilot: By Debbie Gregory