Instructor Pilots Reflect on Women’s History Month

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Esther Min
  • 47th Flying Training Wing

“A wise woman once told me, ‘In aviation, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female—you’re a flyer,” said Major Jamie Van Neste, T-6 Texan II Instructor Pilot. “Your gender doesn’t change that ability…and your aircraft can’t tell the difference.”


Several instructor pilots (IP) reflected on experiences in their life and shared stories on what Women’s History Month means for them.


Major Jamie Van Neste 

T-6 Texan II Instructor Pilot (previously C-17 IP)

Years in Service: 10

Notable facts: Major Van Neste’s mother was in the first class with women at the Air Force Academy. 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

“It’s a time to reflect on the generations of strong women who came before us. Several generations of women have paved the path that my peers and I are able to walk. Their sacrifices and hard work allow us to do what we dreamed of doing. We should remember the obstacles they had to overcome and sacrifices they made to provide opportunities that so many of us today take for granted. My mother, even just 30 years before me, had a very different experience in the Air Force. She faced many more barriers and challenges than I hopefully ever will. It is important to step back from the daily grind and appreciate the progress our world has made. Being an Air Force pilot is an opportunity to show the world what women can do. There are obviously still biases out there and being a competent woman pilot is a chance to demonstrate just how capable our gender can be and how challenges can be overcome.”



Captain Melany Delgado

T-1 Jayhawk Instructor Pilot (previously C-17 Pilot)

Years in service: 8

Notable facts: Capt Delgado studies Japanese for fun. 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

“Women's history month is about celebrating the progress we've made and opportunities we have, but also remembering those who struggled to help us get here. Being an Air Force pilot sometimes means sacrificing your personal life to accomplish a mission and taking care of and mentoring your crew to create the strongest possible force for the military.”


Captain Kimberly Bray

T-6 Texan II First Assignment Instructor Pilot

Years in service: 5

Notable facts: Captain Bray’s father and grandfather served in the Air Force. She also graduated from Baylor University.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

“Women’s history month is all about celebrating us as women working together to build on the foundation that the incredible women before us laid out. To me being an Air Force pilot is being a part of an elite group of high-quality people and pushing myself and others around me to be better every day."