The elite United States Navy Blue Angels perform jaw dropping stunts around the United States. The pilot of the C-130, affectionately known as the "Fat Albert," is breaking barriers and making history. Captain Katie Higgins is the first female Blue Angels pilot. She recently performed at the United States Naval Academy Air Show and it was a homecoming for her. Higgins is from Maryland. She attended the Naval Academy and graduated in 2008. I met with her in Annapolis, Maryland and we spoke about being a trailblazer for women.
Higgins told me, "I fly the planes just like my male counterparts and I think I am just as happy as they are to be a part of this team. I’m very privileged. It is an honor." She added, "I don't face any challenges as far as my gender goes. I’m treated just like all of the other boys and that's wonderful. I think everybody strives for perfection as best they can and that's the kind of show we want to put on for the American people. I just want to put that example out there that women can do whatever they want to do and that goes for guys as well. Higgins told me "The mission of the Blue Angels is to inspire excellence through pride and professionalism and if I’m doing that then I am doing the mission that the Blue Angels sent me here to do." It seems Higgins was born to fly. She is a third generation Pilot. She got exposure to aviation at a young age. Her dad was a F-18 Pilot. She says, "That's actually what my Hornets partners on the team fly. It is really cool that he can watch their show and reminisce about his career and then he can watch me fly as well and be a proud Dad. He definitely got a little emotional the first time he saw me fly, so it is definitely wonderful to have him here and to have my Mother here as well."
Higgins remains humble. She tells me she's honored to be a part of the team, but she is even more proud to be one of the selfless women who serve this great country. She added, "Even though I am the First Female Blue Angels Pilot, women have been in Marine Corps Aviation since 1993. The Marine Corps itself is actually six percent women so we have been doing this a long time and even on the team, the team has had a female officer since 1969 . We actually have 19 other women on the team, so I would hope that I could be a conduit to bring attention to those women that are not only on my team, but that are also in the Marine Corps at large. She says "They are overseas right now fighting ISIS, they are overseas in the Asian Theatre standing the watch. Those are the real heroes and to be able to stand here and tell their stories ...There is no greater honor than that."
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