The Georgia Air National Guard is set to deploy a black woman as a pilot for the first time.
The Guard tweeted on Wednesday that 1st Lt. Andrea Lewis would soon deploy from the 116th Air Control Wing, “becoming the first female African-American pilot in the history of the Georgia Air National Guard!”
According to the tweet, Lewis flies the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft. According to the U.S. Air Force, the aircraft is used for “battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”
A Georgia Air National Guard news release said Lewis began pursuing her dream to become a pilot after her father, himself a pilot in the Marines for 14 years, died in 2010, WXIA in Atlanta reported.
She said she “knew it was time for me to take the steps needed to become a pilot and realize my dreams.”
She joined the Air Force Reserves that year, was accepted into the Georgia Air National Guard four years later and in 2017 graduated from pilot training.
“When I got my wings I couldn’t believe it was finally happening,” she said. “I said to my mom, ‘I finally made it!’”
Lewis comes from an airborne family. In addition to her father’s career as a pilot, both with the Marines and later American Airlines, her mother spent her career as a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, WXIA in Atlanta reported.
“You could say that aviation and serving others is in my DNA,” Lewis said. “It is something I always knew I wanted to be a part of.”