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Female fighter pilots join the 114th

(KSFY)
Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 9:42 PM CDT
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The South Dakota Air National Guard is making some history tonight. After years of training, the 114th Operations Group now has two female fighter pilots on duty.

We were able to spend some time with both of them earlier today and find out what it's like to be breaking barriers.

To become proficient at flying an F-16 takes years of training.

It takes focus. It takes intensity.

For years, the pilot's seat has been filled by men.

But that is changing.

"Being a female pilot shouldn't be any different than being a male pilot. We do our job just as well as they do." Captain Shanon Davis is 3rd generation military.

Both her parents were in the Air Force and her grandfather was a fighter pilot.

When she made the decision to fly, she didn't think about joining a boy's club. She thought about serving her country while doing something she loved. "You don't know what you don't know. So a lot of the young women will ask me, you know, how did you become a pilot? How did you decide to do it? And the answer is if you want to do something you can do it."

While Captain Davis' path to the Air Guard was the result of a family tradition...for Captain Valerie Vanderostyne, the path was paved with a certain necessity. "I needed to pay for college so I enlisted and the GI Bill was very helpful and that's what actually gave me the opportunity to get this job."

Vanderostyne also says doesn't focus on being a female pilot. She says she is just a pilot like everyone else in the group. While not every little girl may dream of being a fighter pilot, she did. Mission accomplished. "I always wanted to fly and I went to school for aviation and so i figured I might as well fly for the military and this is the funnest pilot job I think anyone could have."

Vanderostyne is from Parker, South Dakota and Davis is a native of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Both say being based in Sioux Falls allows them to do what they love while staying close to the people who supported them in accomplishing their dream.

What's it like being at the controls of an F-16?

Davis says it's a roller coaster ride you can control.

While Vanderostyne says it doesn't feel as fast as you might think it would.

We were able to spend some time with both of them earlier today and find out what it's like to be breaking barriers.

To become proficient at flying an F-16 takes years of training.

It takes focus. It takes intensity.

For years, the pilot's seat has been filled by men.

But that is changing.

"Being a female pilot shouldn't be any different than being a male pilot. We do our job just as well as they do." Captain Shanon Davis is 3rd generation military.

Both her parents were in the Air Force and her grandfather was a fighter pilot.

When she made the decision to fly, she didn't think about joining a boy's club. She thought about serving her country while doing something she loved. "You don't know what you don't know. So a lot of the young women will ask me, you know, how did you become a pilot? How did you decide to do it? And the answer is if you want to do something you can do it."

While Captain Davis' path to the Air Guard was the result of a family tradition...for Captain Valerie Vanderostyne, the path was paved with a certain necessity. "I needed to pay for college so I enlisted and the GI Bill was very helpful and that's what actually gave me the opportunity to get this job."

Vanderostyne also says doesn't focus on being a female pilot. She says she is just a pilot like everyone else in the group. While not every little girl may dream of being a fighter pilot, she did. Mission accomplished. "I always wanted to fly and I went to school for aviation and so i figured I might as well fly for the military and this is the funnest pilot job I think anyone could have."

Vanderostyne is from Parker, South Dakota and Davis is a native of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Both say being based in Sioux Falls allows them to do what they love while staying close to the people who supported them in accomplishing their dream.

What's it like being at the controls of an F-16?

Davis says it's a roller coaster ride you can control.

While Vanderostyne says it doesn't feel as fast as you might think it would.

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