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Women in the Air Force – displays in Global Reach Gallery

Picture of  7 seven in flight suits standing in front of a C-141.

The first all-female USAF transatlantic flight occurred on May 9, 1983, when an 18th Military Airlift Squadron crew flew a C-141B Starlifter from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. The first Air Force all-female aircrew included: Captain Guiliana Sangiorgio, aircraft commander; Captain Barbara E. Akin, first pilot; First Lieutenant Terri A. Ollinger, copilot; Technical Sergeant Donna L. Wertz, instructor flight engineer; Staff Sergeant Denise J. Meunier, flight engineer; Sergeant Mary Eiche, loadmaster; and Airman First Class Bernadette C. Botti, loadmaster.

All-Female Transatlantic Flight

Since the 1980’s, women have made a number of all-female crew missions – to publicize and demonstrate women’s increasing presence in the military and in career fields previously only occupied by men.

Initially, these historic flights were limited to cargo aircraft. When the Department of Defense repealed combat exclusion rules, women began flying all-female missions in fighter aircraft.

The first all-female USAF transatlantic flight occurred on May 9, 1983, when an 18th Military Airlift Squadron crew flew a C-141B Starlifter from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. During the roundtrip flight, the crew air evacuated 50 seriously ill patients and transported 100 other service personnel and family members from West Germany to Washington, DC. The mission demonstrated the importance and growing presence of women in airborne operations, a traditionally male career field.

The first Air Force all-female aircrew in May 1983 included: Captain Guiliana Sangiorgio, aircraft commander; Captain Barbara E. Akin, first pilot; First Lieutenant Terri A. Ollinger, copilot; Technical Sergeant Donna L. Wertz, instructor flight engineer; Staff Sergeant Denise J. Meunier, flight engineer; Sergeant Mary Eiche, loadmaster; and Airman First Class Bernadette C. Botti, loadmaster.


Mask Policy:
In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD) and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will require all visitors to wear face masks indoors effective July 30, 2021 until further notice.

Visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks while indoors at the museum. This policy applies to all visitors, staff and volunteers regardless of vaccination status. Visitors may wear their own masks or a free paper mask will be provided. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
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