The Air Force has recently changed one of its policies regarding women serving as pilots in the United States Air Force. This video is from a CBS News interview by Nora O’Donnel, and it features two U.S. Air Force pilots who also happen to be married to one another, and…they are expecting their first baby. They are Maj. Lauren and Maj. Mark Olmi.
Not unlike many other young married couples, the Olmis met in college. That college they happened to be attending together was the Unites States Air Force Academy, Colorado. They married and entered into their Air Force careers as pilots, and both have enjoyed very successful Air Force careers, both having achieved the rank of Major. And as they seem to do everything together, they are also both presently piloting B-1 Bombers.
The policy change being revealed here is that the Air Force now allows pregnant aircrew members to apply for waivers to continue flying while pregnant, regardless of their trimester or aircraft type. The policy change went into effect last year. Major Lauren Olmi is the first female pilot to fly an ejection seat aircraft in the Air Force while pregnant.
Both of the Olmis fly the B-1, one of the fastest and most lethal bombers in service. The B-1 has a four-person crew, including an aircraft commander, a co-pilot, and two weapon systems officers. They can fly at altitudes higher than 30,000 ft., have an intercontinental flight range, and can fly at 900+ mph. They are technologically highly advanced aircraft. Because of this, the training for those who pilot them is extensive and expensive. This new policy allows female pilots to continue doing what they’ve been trained to do and what they are passionate about doing for as long as possible.
Another female pilot, Capt. Nicole Sorrells, says of the policy change, “The waiver process and accommodations are extremely important, because it allow females to not have to choose between a career and a family – now we can have both. The fact that the Air Force is now taking that step and allowing us to at least apply for a waiver is a huge step in the right direction for us aviator females.” Women who have proven their value as pilots or aircrew members are now empowered to make the choices that women in the civilian sector have been able to enjoy for a long time.
Forgive this old literature professor for this, but this story brings a whole new set of ideas to the old story told to toddlers, who are still too young to understand the complexities of love and biology, about the stork being the delivery system for the new baby brother or sister who has suddenly appeared in their house. That fairytale has its origins in Greek mythology. According to the story, Hera, the wife of Zeus and the queen of the gods, grew jealous of a beautiful queen named Gerana and her new baby and transformed Gerana into a stork in order to claim the baby for herself. The heartbroken Gerana then sought to retrieve her child from Hera’s clutches, and the Greeks depicted the queen now transformed into a stork with a baby dangling in a sack from its beak.
This story is no fairytale. Today, Maj. Lauren Olmi, who is pregnant with her first child, continues to fly, carrying what might be one of the next generation’s Air Force pilots right along with her in that B-1 Bomber pilot seat for as long as she can safely do so.
We wish Majors Lauren and Mark Olmi a joyous, warm, and healthy welcome for their first child and hope that they can both continue doing what they both love so much in service to the Air Force and to the country. Your child can legitimately tell the Air Force Academy Admissions Office 18 years from now that he or she has been flying Air Force bombers since before birth. “Aim High!”Whizzco