First Air Force Latina pilot: Lt. Col. Olga E. Custodio
By , 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 30, 2014
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Lt. Col. Olga E. Custodio made U.S. military history by becoming the first Hispanic female pilot in the United States Air Force. Not only did Custodio become the first female Hispanic pilot, but she was the first Latina to complete U.S Air Force military pilot training.
Custodio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a father that served in the United States Army. Traveling around the world with her father were a few key factors in her career choice. She joined the United States Air Force and completed officer training school in January 1980.
Custodio's first assignment was at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. There she became the first female instructor for the Northrop T-38. Custodio retired from active duty as a lieutenant colonel serving 23 years. Upon her retirement, she continued to make history by becoming the first Latina commercial airline captain as well.