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Video by Staff Sgt. Wesley Jones
Women in Aviation
117th Air Refueling Wing
Sept. 18, 2021 | 3:47
“I joined the Air Force straight out of high school. It had been a dream ever since I could remember.”
“I did maintenance scheduling for six and a half years. I had no idea what a boom operator was.”
“I swore into the guard on my birthday which was November of twenty twelve.”
“The last eight generations of my family have had a military member.”
“Carrying on that tradition was an inspiration for me.”
“My whole career before that was sort of go with the flow…I guess I’ll do this job and do my best at that.
But now I was going to do something that I really wanted.”
“every night had just been looking at pictures of Alabama and being a Boom Operator I kind of started to
sink in.”
“So I interviewed. It was the most nerve-racking interview I had ever had.”
“I actually didn’t make it the first time and of course I’m like heartbroken thinking what am I supposed
to do.”
“I was actually selected the year the KC-46 rolled off the lot, they cut the boom force almost in half for
the KC 135 Boom Operators so I waited almost two and a half years for a school date.”
“So what are you going to do now? I was going to go again. I said is there anything I can do better on
this next interview or anything I can learn before I come back for another interview because I’m coming
back.”
“I came back and I did another interview and when I found out I made it, it was amazing. I cried.”
“I did get the call and it was so worth the wait. I tried to tell myself that early on as I was waiting but two
years is a long time.”
“the very first flight I was thinking this was a really good decision.”
“putting fuel in these aircraft you are in the air you are watching it happen. You get that first contact
and it feels awesome just knowing that you’re helping.”
“then you sort of have that relationship with the receiver pilots and the co-pilots it just sort of all
comes together.”
“I live for it now. It used to sort of scare me. But I absolutely love it now it doesn’t compare to anything
else.”
“no one is going to hold your hand through it you know. If you want something you know, you hear it all
the time, but when you want something until it sinks in…if you want something you have to do it for
yourself. It is definitely worth just getting back up and knowing I’m going to do that.”
“I am more confident now and I’m more self-assured. There’s one boom operator on the crew so you
have to know that you are right. You can’t say well I don’t know because it’s happening in real-time.
You’re off the ground there is no one you can call. You have to know that you are right. And having that

knowledge and having the ability to learn and be better has really has given me a different kind of confidence.”
“I’m Staff Sergeant Sadie Jurado.”
“I’m Technical Sergeant Allison Thomas.”
“And we are women in aviation.”
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