AOG Welcomes the CTANG's First Female Pilot
By 1st Lt. Bryon M. Turner, 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published October 05, 2008
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- History was made on August 15, 2008 when Maj. Kristen Snow joined the 103rd Air Operations Group (AOG), Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., and became the Connecticut Air National Guard's first female pilot.
Snow brings a wealth of experience to the 103rd AOG having served as both a HC-130 and a C-21 pilot during her 10 years spent on active duty from 1995 to 2005. Having deployed to Central America in support of counter drug missions, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and an undisclosed forward operation base in support of operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM, she's no stranger to the concept of air mobility.
Snow left the active duty in 2005 when she and her husband, Josh, a former active duty aircraft maintenance officer, decided to start their family in Josh's home state of Connecticut. After tending to the needs of her family and starting a successful catering business, Snow felt the call to duty once again.
"I missed serving my country and I missed the military. When I heard about the C-21s coming to Connecticut, I decided to look into the Connecticut Air National Guard," said Snow. "When I contacted the unit, I discovered a potential opportunity in the Air Mobility Division of the new AOG, and I jumped at the opportunity."
Snow is one of 20 new pilots recently hired to help stand up the new AOG. Each pilot was hired for their unique skills and capabilities which, according to Lt. Col. Peter J. Depatie, commander, 103rd Air Operations Group, will make each of them integral members of his team.
"While I'm proud to say the AOG is making history by hiring Major Snow, I'm more excited about the skills and knowledge she brings with her. When I see Kristen, I don't see the CTANG's first female pilot, I see an outstanding new addition to our developing mission," said Depatie.
Snow is scheduled to attend the initial Air Operations Center Air Mobility Division training course in early 2009 where she will learn how to take her current skills and put them to work for AOG.
"She's going to be putting her knowledge to work by providing expertise in inter-theater and intra-theater airlift," said Depatie. "Her professionalism and interpersonal communication skills, coupled with the fact that she is a seasoned pilot with real world airlift experience, made her an obvious pick for the close-nit team we're developing within the AOG."
Snow will still maintain her full-time job as a mother of two children, Ben, 3, and eighteen-month-old Oliver, but welcomes her return to military service with enthusiasm, as the AOG's newest traditional member.
"Working as a full-time mom during the week and serving my country on the weekends and as needed is the best of both worlds," said Snow, "The Air Guard is providing me with an opportunity to pursue two of my passions that would otherwise be at odds with each other."
"I think it's cool, and it says a lot about our unit. It's good to know women have the same opportunities that men do here at Bradley," said Airman Kayla M. Smith, human resources assistant, 103rd Mission Support Flight, who helped Snow in-process.
Although Snow would prefer to be viewed as pilot first and a woman second, she's aware of her potential status as a role model for junior members who may aspire to follow in her foot steps.
"I'm eager to be part of the team and to be judged by the quality of my work, but I'm comfortable with providing mentorship to anyone who may seek it out," said Snow. "The best advice I can give is work hard, take care of those around you and stay focused on the mission," said Snow.