OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- Only 36 years ago, the first
female Air Force pilots took to the sky, and ever since, barriers
have continued to shatter in avionics.
First Lt. Clancly Morrical, 36th Fighter Squadron pilot, stands by her F-16 Fighting Falcon March 13, 2013, at Osan Air Base, South Korea. Morrical is Osan's only female pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo
by Senior Airman Alexis Siekert)
Today, there are 62,112 women actively serving in the Air
Force; making up less than 20 percent of the force,
according to Air Force Personnel Center officials. Of the
women serving, only 723 are pilots -- but at Osan Air Base
here there is only one.
First Lt. Clancy Morrical,
assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, currently stands as
Osan AB's only female pilot.
Morrical was raised in
an aviation household as her father was a U.S. Army
helicopter pilot for 20 years and then airline pilot, yet
she didn't grow up aspiring to be a pilot herself.
"My father shared a lot of information about flying with
me," she said. "He took me on a Cessna ride one time, and I
flew a glider once when I was younger, but my parents always
said, 'Do whatever it is you feel you were meant to do,' and
I didn't see myself as a pilot. I didn't grow up as a kid
saying, 'I want to be a pilot,' and I didn't go to a lot of
air shows or do a lot of the things you often hear pilots
say they did."
Morrical was studying education at
Baylor University, Texas, as she mastered the basics on how
to be an Air Force officer through the Reserve Officer
Training Corps. Although she was sure she wanted to be an
officer, she was still unsure what her exact career path
Advice and mentorship sparked her idea to
apply for a pilot slot, said Morrical, and in her junior
year she was thrilled to find out she had been selected.
Once she set her mind on it, she excelled in her training by
earning the Military Training Award for the first portion of
the two-year path to becoming an aviator. At this point, it
was still undecided as to what kind of pilot she would
Morrical went into pilot training without a
bias on flying either fighter or heavy aircraft, saying she
"was testing the waters," but recalled formation training in
a T-6 Texan II, as the defining moment when she decided her
"While doing different things in training
our instructors would say, 'If you enjoy this,' referring to
formation training, 'You may enjoy flying a fighter.' That
is when I really started loving the idea," the F-16 Fighting
Falcon pilot said with a smile.
training, Morrical studied with less than 10 other female
students, yet she attributes some of her success to her
influential squadron leaders at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
"I was crazy lucky to be in a squadron with two
women in leadership," she said enthusiastically. "It was
really neat to watch them lead and to have the opportunity
to learn about being a female pilot, such as the differences
and logistics of flying as a woman. They are amazing
Morrical never skipped a beat and continued
to thrive throughout the remainder of her training and
finished the F-16 initial training course as a distinguished
graduate. She scored an amazing average of 99.7 percent on
the 10 tests covering all aspects of F-16 operations. She
also earned the "Top Pencil" award for being rated number
one of her class of 16.
Her laid-back attitude and
passion for her job solidifies her place in the "Flying
"I'm just a fighter pilot, the fact that I'm
a woman doesn't matter," she said. "As long as you're
capable, there is nothing holding you back from being
successful in this career field -- male or female. It's
really about performance; gender has nothing to do with it."
As far as her comrades' view of her in a fighter
squadron dripping with tradition, her gender has proved
"We don't see her as a female pilot, we
see her as Clancy, the sharp and ambitious pilot she is,"
said Lt. Col. Jason Cockrum, the commander of the 36th FS.
"She has such a positive attitude, she's eager to learn and
is looking to make herself the best pilot in the squadron."
Morrical is still very new, having just arrived in
February and with this being her first active-duty
assignment. Right now, she is focusing on being the best
F-16 wingman possible. She is now a little more than half
way through her mission qualification training and, as her
commander explains, "Is kicking tail at it."
has set big goals for her career.
To incorporate her
degree in education into her passion for flying, Morrical
aspires to be an instructor pilot in the future. And she
hopes to one day be a fighter squadron commander herself.
By USAF Senior Airman Alexis Siekert
Air Force News Service
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