Here’s a great thing about being a female graduate from the Air Force Academy–not only do you get great coaching and athletic facilities during “college,” not only can you continue to play internationally after you graduate (assuming you are good enough), but — you get to fly the Team Plane!!
Air Force Captain Wendy Emminger, Class of 2003, and First Lieutenant Mandi Messinger, Class of 2008, both fly KC-10s for the 305 Air Mobility Wing at McGuire AFB (oops, these days they call it the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base in New Jersey). They also successfully competed for slots on the U.S. Military Soccer Team. Then, the team qualified to play at the Military World Games in Brazil this Summer.
The track and field team, which was training at McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and the soccer team needed transportation to Brazil; Emminger needed an overseas landing to stay current in her flying status — and viola! Everyone agreed it made sense to let Emminger, Messinger, and some additional crew members from McGuire use their training time to fly the teams to Brazil.
Brazil ended up winning the Military World Soccer Championship, while the U.S. team finished seventh. Congratulations to our women for being able to make the team and the trip, despite the high operations tempo at the 305th, even (especially!) if you “had” to fly the jet to get there!
Thank you to Layne Kasper for bringing this story to my attention, and to Air Force Public Affairs for sharing the great photo.