Georgia native Lt. Andrea Lewis always aspired to pursue a career in aviation. With a father who was a pilot and a mother who traveled the world as a stewardess she knew she was destined to follow in their footsteps. Lt. Lewis has not only fulfilled her dream of launching a career in aviation, she has broken a major barrier by becoming the first Black woman pilot in the Georgia Air National Guard, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Lt. Lewis—a University of Georgia alumni—began her career with the Air Force Reserves nine years ago as a flight attendant, the news outlet writes. In 2011, she began working for Delta Air Lines in the same role. After a few years with the airline, she decided to begin training for a pilot position. She then went on to join the Georgia Air National Guard and became a pilot for the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft. She’s currently gearing up for deployment.
“You could say that aviation and serving others is in my DNA. It is something I always knew I wanted to be a part of,” Lewis told the Air Force Times. “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.”
Many people are likening her accomplishment to those of Stephanie Johnson who was Delta’s first African-American woman captain and Bessie Coleman who was the first Black woman to have an international pilot’s license. Those who serve with Lt. Lewis are beyond proud of her accomplishment. “She has already made a tremendous impact in our unit and there is no question she will continue to be successful,” said Col. Ato Crumbly, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing, in a statement.
There is a major need for both racial and gender diversity in the aviation industry. According to Aero Professional, in the United States only 2.5 percent of pilots are Black and 4.1 percent are women.