1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux

Pilot : B-52H Statrofortress

1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux

In the Air Force, 1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux became the first woman on a combat air mission as member of B-52 crew that fired cruise missiles.

Raised in Anchorage, Williams hails from a family with clouds in its eyes. Her father, a corporate pilot, flew F-8s in Vietnam and her brother also flies.

At age 10, she took control of the family Cessna. The hardware soon would get more impressive. Williams earned her Navy wings in 1994 and joined the Gunslingers a year ago.

1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux

First woman to fly on a B-52 combat mission

In December 1998, as cruise missiles fired from a B-52 bomber streaked toward targets in Iraq, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Cheryl Lamoureux was too busy concentrating on her job to consider the bit of history she had just made.

It wasn't until she landed seven hours later than it sunk in. Lamoureux, a member of the 20th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, had become the first woman to fly on a B-52 combat mission.

"You don't think about it until you land and there are cameras there," the north Florida native said. "There's nothing really special about it that I see."

Seven Barksdale B-52s and their air crews launched about 90 cruise missiles with 2,000-pound warheads during airstrikes against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox. The strikes were prompted by Iraq's repeated refusal to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.

"I think it's very important women are taking a more active role in every aspect of the military," said Lamoureux, who served on the mission last month as an electronics warfare officer. She said people need to realize that women "can do a job just as good as any man."

Operation Desert Fox, the four-day air campaign against Iraq, marked the first time women dropped bombs and fired missiles in combat. During a 14-hour mission, Lamoureux's plane launched eight cruise missilies over the Persian Gulf toward targets in Baghdad.

"I think there was a little somberness because you realize you're firing off missiles that will strike another country. You realize the importance of it," she said.

From Times-Picayune article from January 4, 1999

Top | Pioneers Home


© Copyright 1999-2002 CTIE - All Rights Reserved - Caution
Created and maintained by
Last updated September 18, 2002