FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2010
By: Pfc. Karina Paraoan
Alaska National Guard Members Make History as First All Female Aircrew
CAMP DENALI, Alaska— Four Alaska Air National Guard members with the 249th Airlift
Squadron made history April 2 as the first all female aircrew to fly an Alaska Air National
The mission included Capt. Allison Snow, aircraft commander; Maj. Krista Staff, instructor
pilot; Capt. Laura Grossman, co-pilot; and Staff Sgt. Christina Cordes, loadmaster. The
four-person crew, accompanied by Brig. Gen. Deborah McManus, assistant adjutant general
Alaska Air National Guard, flew a C-17 Globemaster from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska,
to Boise International Guard Base, Idaho.
Although this mission was a milestone for the Alaska Air National Guard, all those involved
treated the flight as just another day doing what they love and what they’re trained to do.
“This was the first all female aircrew for the Alaska Air National Guard, but we all work the
same regardless of gender” Staff said. “The Air Guard is like being part of one big family,
and even though the guys tease us sometimes, they know we’re as good as they are and
we continue to prove it. They don’t look at us any differently because we’re women -- we’re
more like their wingmen.”
The one-day mission to Idaho was to pick up 60 Alaska Army National Guardsmen with
1/297th Calvary, who had been in Idaho for their two-week annual training.
The crew and C-17 took off at 9 a.m., arriving at Boise International Guard Base four hours
later. They spent one hour on the ground, loading the Army Guardsmen and gear on the C-
17, all the while the engine was still running and their eyes were on the weather.
“Turning off the engine and restarting it would have taken a lot more time and risked
possible complications,” Snow said. “And with the rain coming down sideways when we
landed, we knew we had to get out of there quickly.”
After beating the tough weather, the crew took off again for Alaska, landing a successful
mission back in Anchorage at 7 p.m.
“I am very proud that we put this all female aircrew together,” McManus said. “The Alaska
National Guard is truly equal opportunity, and we can always use more female pilots and
aircrew serving in the Air National Guard.”
Capt. Laura Grossman, 249th Airlift Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, goes over C-17
Globemaster pre-flight inspections an hour before takeoff to Boise, Idaho, April 2. Grossman
was the co-pilot of the first ever all female aircrew mission in the Alaska Air National Guard.
Photo by Pfc. Karina Paraoan, Alaska National Guard Public Affairs
Alaska Air National Guardsman with the 249th Airlift Squadron, accompanied by Brig. Gen.
Deborah McManus, smile for the camera before the first ever Alaska Air National Guard all
female aircrew mission to Boise, Idaho, April 2. From left to right: Brig. Gen. Deborah
McManus, assistant adjutant general Alaska Air National Guard; Capt. Allison Snow, aircraft
commander; Staff Sgt. Christina Cordes, loadmaster; Capt. Laura Grossman, co-pilot; and
Maj. Krista Staff, instructor pilot. Photo by Pfc. Karina Paraoan, Alaska National Guard Public