CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — The first-ever all-woman flight crew for the Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing took off over the weekend.

According to a press release by the Air National Guard, the crew of pilots Lt. Col. Kristen Hoeckel and Maj. Kelly Farris and loadmasters Chief Master Sgt. Debbie Turrill, Technical Sgt. Emily Knight and Technical Sgt. Autumn Davis took the historic flight on Jan. 20 from Charleston, West Virginia to a base near Key West Florida.

Lt Col. Hoeckel, a 22-year veteran of the Air National Guard said of this moment, “While it’s a historic flight for this unit, and I’m glad to be a part of this crew, I’ll be happy when it’s no longer newsworthy.” She poignantly added, “It’s been a long, challenging road for women to be seen as equally capable. I just want to do my job, and be seen as a good pilot… not a ‘good female pilot.’” 

“Looking at our crew, I have a sense of pride, knowing that early in my career, I was opening doors and opening eyes to the concept that women can flourish in what used to be an all-male career field,” said Turrill who started her career as a loadmaster, now manages the section as the chief and evaluator loadmaster.

The flight was made aboard a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.