October 2008 —Jill Long must be wondering how her nickname “Raggz” translates in Italian.
That’s because the U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and aerobatic pilot who flies the Pitts S2B “Ragged Edge” will be stationed in Italy as Director of Operations of the ASOS, or Air Support Operations Squadron, as of November.
“The unit in Aviano, Italy, has been over in the Middle East working hard to make the world a better place,” she writes in a recent newsletter. “How cool to be lucky enough to be selected to be part of such an awesome team?”
But before she leaves, she’ll be busy. She’s performing in the Wings over Marietta air show at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on October 18-19. And for 2 ½ weeks, Long was at an Army jump school in Alabama.
Since she was 12, Long said she has wanted to jump out of airplanes. “I know to many of you this seems like sheer insanity,” she said. “And maybe it is, but who cares? I not only get to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I get to do it Army style.”
Although she will be taking her Pitts overseas, Long said she plans to do a few select U.S. shows: Hawaii, Sun ‘n Fun and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. In fact, Long has been a regular at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, in recent years serving as a mentor for the Women Soar program.
Update: Jill heads to Jump School at the end of November then moving in December
Jill Long at a glance
-She is the only woman to be selected to cross-train into the A-10 “Warthog” or “Tank Killer” after six years in the KC-135 Stratotanker.
-She has accumulated more than 3,000 military flight hours and 50 combat missions in the Global War on Terrorism.
-She was born in Michigan and raised in Oregon and is currently stationed at Sheppard AFB as the 80th Flying Training Wing Director of Staff and a T6 Texan II instructor/evaluator pilot charged with training future combat pilots at Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training.
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