The Navy’s famous Blue Angels has its first female pilot since the team’s inception in 1946.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins, a third-generation military aviator, will now thrill crowds for eight months out of the year. Over 500 million people have seen the Blue Angels during its air shows.
Captain Katie Higgins is a native of Severna Park, Maryland, and graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in 2004. She attended the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2008, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Katie then attended Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and graduated with a Masters of Arts in International Security in 2009.
Katie reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for aviation indoctrination in November 2009. She completed primary flight training in the T-6B Texan II at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, and completed intermediate and advanced training in the T-44 Pegasus while assigned to Training Squadron 31 (VT-31) at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. She received her wings of gold in October 2011.
Katie then reported to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, for initial training in the KC-130J Hercules. She reported to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-252), “Otis,” at MCAS Cherry Point, in May 2012, to begin training in the KC-130J Harvest Hercules Armament Weapons Kit.
While assigned to VMGR-252, Katie deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and to Africa with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis-Response in support of contingency operations.
Katie has flown almost 400 combat hours in support of numerous operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Djibouti, France, Greece, South Sudan, Spain, and Uganda.
“I think that by including a lady on the team that just shows little girls and guys that women can do whatever they put their mind to. Little girls have told me that they didn’t even know that ladies can cry aircraft, that women could be in the cockpit,” Capt. Higgins told CBS of her historic accomplishment.
She discounted talk of her selection to the Blue Angels being a form of damage control after a former commander’s recent sexual harassment scandal.
“Well, honestly, I would just tell them to watch the demo. They can’t tell the difference between mine and the other two pilots on here because I fly it just as well as they do,” the officer told FOX News.
Capt. Higgins will fly the Blue Angels’ C-130 aircraft, known affectionately as “Fat Albert.” She joined the Blue Angels in September 2014. She has accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours. Her decorations include five Air Medals, and various unit and personal awards.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runwaysfor takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medivac, and cargo transport aircraft.
The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations.
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