Georgia Air National Guard's 1st black female pilot set to deploy


    Andrea Lewis/Courtesy Georgia Air National Guard

    ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — 1st Lt. Andrea Lewis is an E-8C Joint STARS aircraft copilot with the 116th Air Control Wing. She's also the first black female pilot in the history of the Georgia Air National Guard -- and is set to deploy as the nation celebrates Black History Month.

    Lewis comes from a family of aviators.

    Her father was a 14-year veteran pilot in the Marine Corps who continued his piloting career with 22 years with American Airlines. Her mother is a career flight attendant with Delta Airlines based out of Atlanta.

    “You could say that aviation and serving others is in my DNA,” said Lewis. “It is something I always knew I wanted to be a part of.”

    Lewis began her career as a traditional reservist with the Air Force Reserves in January 2010 by becoming only the second civilian hired to be an Air Force flight attendant. Later in 2010, her father passed away.

    “I have wanted to be a pilot for a very long time,” Lewis said. “After my father passed away, I knew it was time for me to take the steps needed to become a pilot and realize my dreams. I know it would have made my father proud.”

    In 2011, Lewis was hired to serve as a full-time flight attendant with Delta Airlines, following in her mother’s footsteps while continuing to put the pieces in place to achieve her goal of becoming a pilot.

    Lewis was accepted to the Georgia ANG, 116th ACW, in 2014 and hired to be a pilot for the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft. She attended Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2015 before beginning Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

    “When hiring Lt. Lewis, I saw her tenacity and a drive to accomplish her goal,” said Col. Ato Crumbly, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing. “She has already made a tremendous impact in our unit and there is no question she will continue to be successful.”

    Lewis graduated from pilot training on April 7, 2017 -- officially becoming the first black female pilot in the Georgia ANG.

    “It is my dream job, one I hoped for and set my sights to accomplish,” she. “When I got my wings I couldn’t believe it finally was happening, I said to my mom, ‘I finally made it!’”

    Lewis plans to use her position not only to serve and defend her country, but also as a platform to motivate children to never give up on their dreams.

    “I want to tell people to always keep all options on the table regardless of how unobtainable they may seem,” Lewis said. “Never ever let fear or doubt get in the way of accomplishing your mission.”

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