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All-Female Altitude Chamber Instructor Flight Soars to 25,000 Feet

  • Published
  • By Sean Worrell
  • 12th Flying Training Wing

In honor of Women’s History Month, the 12th Operations Support Squadron conducted an all-female altitude chamber instructor flight, which ascended to 25,000 feet. This mission, undertaken by a team of female instructors emphasized the growing role and recognition of women within the armed forces.

The altitude chamber, a critical component of pilot training, is designed to prepare aviators for the physiological challenges of high-altitude flight. It simulates the low-pressure environments encountered at high altitudes, providing essential training on how to recognize and respond to hypoxia and other altitude-related conditions. The successful operation of this all-female flight underscored the capabilities that women bring to every aspect of military aviation.

Staff Sgt. Toni Cura, 12th OSS flight chief, said “we now get to celebrate and show appreciation to those women who have come before us, that laid the pathway for the progress we have made today.”

Cura trains aviators to recognize hypoxia and other physiological effects that can occur at high altitudes, such as decompression sickness, spatial disorientation, and vision impairments.

Airman Victoria Koko, 12th OSS, aerospace physiology technician, reflected on the impact of learning about Women's History Month and the contributions of women, stated, "Learning about Women's History Month and contributions affected my perspective of life because it empowered me with courage to go after everything I want in life." Koko’s insight underscores the significance of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women as a source of inspiration and empowerment.

Koko also offered advice to other women considering a career in the Air Force: "my advice to women wanting to join the Air Force is to just go for it. You won't regret it. You will be a role model and will give young girls and women courage, resilience, and hope to know that others like them came before." This powerful message highlights the role of women in the military as pioneers, inspiring the next generation to pursue their dreams and break barriers.

The all-female instructor team but also serves as a tribute to the women who have paved the way for this moment. It reflects the evolving landscape of the military, where opportunities for women continue to expand, allowing them to take on leadership roles and participate in missions that were once exclusive to their male counterparts.