HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

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 When the Department of Defense repealed combat exclusion rules, women began flying all-female missions in fighter aircraft.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.

Please note the museum’s parking lot is undergoing construction and repaving through the end of April. There should be minimal disruption to visitors. In addition, Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

Featured Links

Plan Your Visit button
E-newsletter Sign-up button
Explore Museum Exhibits button
Browse Photos button
Visit Press Room button
Become a Volunteer button
Air Force Museum Foundation button
Donate an item button