Women Aviation Pioneers

ScottsdaleTrails reader USAFR Lt Col Eugene Essex saw my earlier posting of RaeAnn Slaybaugh’s article on WWII WASP pilot Betty Blake, and forwarded a photo of himself with Betty and USAF Maj (now Lt Col) Nichole Malachowski. The photo was shot in 2007 at the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends Airshow in Columbus OH.

Malachowski is the first female selected to the elite USAF Air Demonstration Squadron [Wikipedia] [official site], aka “The Thunderbirds.” The Air Demonstration Squadron was formed at Luke AFB, AZ in 1953 and took their name from a mythical Native American creature.

Thanks for the photo, Eugene!

Betty Blake, Eugene Essex, Nicole Malachowski
F-16 Fighting Falcons of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, showing distinctive "Thunderbird" belly markings | USAF official photo
Thunderbirds official emblem

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