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Born to Fly

Col. Courtney Hamilton, 307th Bomb Wing vice-commander, stands outside a T-38 Talon Feb. 14, 2018.  Hamilton made the transition to the bomber community after 18 years as an F-15 Eagle fighter pilot and a T-38 instructor pilot.  (courtesy photo)

Col. Courtney Hamilton, 307th Bomb Wing vice-commander, stands outside a T-38 Talon Feb. 14, 2018. Hamilton made the transition to the bomber community after 18 years as an F-15 Eagle fighter pilot and a T-38 instructor pilot. (courtesy photo)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

U.S. Air Force Col. Courtney Hamilton became the first female vice-commander of the 307th Bomb Wing here August 1, 2018.

An Air Force Academy graduate, the Nevada native earned her pilot wings at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas in 1999.  Since then, she has logged more than 2,000 flight hours in the F-15C Eagle and T-38C Talon.

Hamilton transitioned to the Air Force Reserve in 2016 after 18 years on active duty.  Her most recent assignment has been serving at Headquarters, European Command as an exercise and operations assessor.  In that role, Hamilton evaluated the effectiveness of the command and provided recommendations on how to improve its efforts. 

As vice-commander, she assists wing commander, Col. Robert VanHoy ensuring the unit fulfills its training and combat missions.

“There is no doubt we are looking forward to Col. Hamilton joining the 307th Bomb Wing,” said VanHoy. “The Long Rangers continually lead the way in bomber excellence and Col. Hamilton will only help further our success.”

 As the sole bomb wing in the Air Force Reserve Command, the 307th Bomb Wing, along with its Active Associate partners, provides all B-52 Stratofortress formal training for the Air Force.

 Additionally, along with active-duty counterparts, it provides combat ready aircrew, maintenance and combat support personnel for nuclear and conventional global operational taskings.  It is the only unit in the Air Force currently operating both the B-52 and the B-1 Lancer simultaneously.

Although she has spent her career as a fighter pilot and instructor, Hamilton expressed no reservations about serving in a bomber unit.

“It’s a new mission set for me, but that is exciting and I am so thankful for the opportunity to join this community,” she said. “Learning the new mission will be a challenge, but it is also an incredible way for me to be involved in another facet of Air Force combat power.”

VanHoy believes Hamilton’s background will enhance the effectives of the 307th Bomb Wing.

“Her breadth of experience will enhance and our ability to innovate and deliver more combat capability for our total force integration partners and allies around the globe,” he said.

Regardless of the platform, Hamilton insists she is just happy to be a pilot in the Air Force.

“I dreamed about being a pilot since I was a little kid,” she said. “I cannot remember ever wanting to do anything else and I’ve been lucky enough to fly in the Air Force for the last 20 years.”

Hamilton said she leads by example and is committed to helping remove any roadblocks that keep Airmen in the unit from accomplishing its mission.

“My job is to keep everyone moving toward our goals while empowering each person to do what they do best, she said.  If we take care of our people, the mission takes care of itself.”