Georgia Air National Guard’s first black female pilot prepares for deployment

Kaylah Jackson
February 12, 2019 - 2:04 pm

(Georgia Air National Guard Photo)

1st Lt. Andrea Lewis, the Georgia Air National Guard’s first African-American female pilot is set to deploy.

Part of Georgia’s 116th Air Control Wing, Lewis is an E-8C Joint STARS copilot and she comes from a family of aviators. Lewis’ father served 14 years in the Marine Corps as a pilot and later continued on the civilian sector with a 22-year career with American Airlines. Her mother is a flight attendant with Delta Airlines.

Lewis’ father passed away in 2010, but she has made it a point to keep the family tradition. Like her mother, Lewis starting working as a fulltime flight attendant with Delta Airlines in 2011. She was later accepted to the Georgia Air National Guard 116th Air Control Wing and hired to be an 8C Joint STARS pilot.

“I have wanted to be a pilot for a very long time,” said Lewis. “After my father passed away, I knew it was time for me to take the steps needed to become a pilot and realize my dreams. I know it would have made my father proud.”

Before attending Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training, Lewis was in the Air Force Reserves and later became the only second civilian hired to be an Air Force flight attendant. 

“When hiring Lt. Lewis, I saw her tenacity and a drive to accomplish her goal,” said Col. Ato Crumbly, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing. “She has already made a tremendous impact in our unit and there is no question she will continue to be successful.”

Lewis became the first black female pilot in the Georgia ANG when she graduated from training in 2017. She will now be the first to deploy, though the details of her deployment were not released for operational security reasons.

“I want to tell people to always keep all options on the table regardless of how unobtainable they may seem,” said Lewis. “Never ever let fear or doubt get in the way of accomplishing your mission.”

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