LAS VEGAS — Maj. Sarah Spy wanted to be a pilot since she was a little girl. Now, at 37, she has become the first female flight instructor pilot for the Nevada Air National Guard. “It’s pretty exciting,” Spy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s kind of mind-blowing that there’s still firsts to be had in women in aviation, but I got one.” Spy said she remembers as a child being glued to the window of a plane as it took off, and that exhilaration has never worn off. And growing up with a mother who excelled in a male-dominated field — she worked in train maintenance — Spy said she never doubted her ability to fly planes. She said that women have been allowed to fly in combat missions in the armed forces only since the 1990s, so she’s used to being surrounded by mostly men in the Air Force. But whenever she attends the Women in Aviation International Conference, it’s a bit of a shock. “They actually have a flight suit social one night, so there’s a whole room of just female flyers in their flight suits,” Spy said. “You’re just like, ‘Man, is this how the guys feel, with everyone around?’ It’s a very interesting feeling.” Spy said it took years of training to qualify as an instructor. She has an undergraduate degree from Kent State University, has completed various pilot trainings and over 4,500 flight hours, served multiple deployments, and spent over 750 hours as a co-pilot before upgrading to C-130 Hercules commander for the 152nd Operations Group at the Nevada Air National Guard, based at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. She finished instructor pilot school in May. Sign up for the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Air Force stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup. “Actually I was selected a few years ago, just timing didn’t quite work out for me to go to school, but it finally worked out,” Spy said. “COVID was good for one thing: It gave me time to do that.” Col. Derek Gardner said he has worked with Spy since she came to the Nevada Air National Guard from Ohio in 2009. The pair became quick friends and deployed to the Middle East together a couple of times. Though Spy referred to Gardner as a mentor, he said he hates the term because he doesn’t want people to think he’s better than her. “Sarah has always been super interested in improving herself, and she’s never wanted to do just the bare minimum,” Gardner said. “She’s always been driven and motivated to learn and broaden her skills.” Gardner said Spy has long planned for her future and paid attention to minor details, both in flight and in administrative areas. But he said “the rubber hit the road” in 2019 when she was hired as a pilot for Delta Air Lines. “The temptation is always to pull back from the Guard and have the airline be your primary focus,” Gardner said. “But she did not let up on either side. She kept up with her own stuff, and she kept up on the Guard side as well and continued to push forward as much as she could to progress in the Guard.” Spy said she wants people with aspirations of flying to know that it’s possible, no matter your background. “I grew up not exactly well off, so it was a little bit of a difficult journey to make it through where I was, so I just wouldn’t want anyone to give up because I’ve heard so many times, ‘I was wanting to be a pilot, but I couldn’t do this, I had this issue, I can’t afford that,’” Spy said. “I just try not to let people let those blocks get in the way so someday they’re not saying, ‘I wanted to be a pilot, but .…’”
Green Beret dies during water training at Fort Campbell
A Special Forces soldier died during a water training event Tuesday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Army officials confirmed.The soldier, who was a National Guardsman assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group, went underwater during a surface swimming exercise and did not resurface, an Army official told Army Times.The soldier’s family has been notified, the official…
A Special Forces soldier died during a water training event Tuesday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Army officials confirmed.The soldier, who was a National Guardsman assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group, went underwater during a surface swimming exercise and did not resurface, an Army official told Army Times.The soldier’s family has been notified, the official said.The diver training was taking place at Fort Campbell’s Joe Swing Park Reservoir, according to a Fort Campbell release. A search began “immediately” and included personnel from installation emergency services, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Montgomery County EMS, according to the release.RELATEDThe soldier’s remains were recovered on Wednesday morning, and the incident remains under investigation, the release added.The soldier is the second Green Beret to die during water training in recent months.Staff Sgt. Micah Walker, who was a member of 10th Special Forces Group, became unresponsive during a water treading exercise at the Army’s Special Forces Underwater Operations School on Naval Air Station Key West, in Florida. He died soon after.Walker’s death remains under investigation.Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.
New Army aviation warrants no longer automatically promoted after two years
The Army has issued a directive that could add two years to the time required for aviator warrant officers to be promoted to chief warrant officer 2.The directive, AD 2021-31, was approved Sept. 10 and takes effect Oct. 1.The move is aimed at giving “aviation warrant officers more time for professional development at junior ranks,”…
The Army has issued a directive that could add two years to the time required for aviator warrant officers to be promoted to chief warrant officer 2.The directive, AD 2021-31, was approved Sept. 10 and takes effect Oct. 1.The move is aimed at giving “aviation warrant officers more time for professional development at junior ranks,” according to an Army release.Warrant officers are automatically promoted after two years serving as warrants, according to Army Regulation 600-8-29.But many aviation branch warrant officers are promoted to CWO2 within a few months of arriving at their units because of the lengthy time spent in flight school, according to the release.RELATEDThe directive means there’s no more automatic two-year promotion. The two-year clock will start when the warrant officer completes flight school and Warrant Officer Basic Course.The move will give them, “more time to learn and grow,” according to the release.The directive is specific to aviation warrant officers and does not apply to other branches, according to the release.Warrant officers of all kinds have been a hot commodity recently. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve were developing a policy this summer to bring back retired active duty warrant officers.The plan would allow those retired warrant officers to continue to draw their pensions while serving, and getting paid, in the Guard or Reserve, Army Times reported.Officials told Army Times in July that an estimated 600 warrant officers were slated to retire in the next 12 months. At the time, the Army Reserve was about 1,000 warrant officers short of its needs.The Guard had 2,333 warrant officer vacancies out of 10,234 authorized slots, officials said.Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.
Former Air Force contractor sentenced for taking classified information
A former Air Force contractor was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for his role in taking an estimated 2,500 pages of classified information while working for the Air Force between 2016 and 2019.Izaak Vincent Kemp, 36, of Fairborn, Ohio, was charged in January and pleaded guilty in February to unauthorized removal and retention of classified…
A former Air Force contractor was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for his role in taking an estimated 2,500 pages of classified information while working for the Air Force between 2016 and 2019.Izaak Vincent Kemp, 36, of Fairborn, Ohio, was charged in January and pleaded guilty in February to unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office release.He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Walter Rice to one year and one day in federal prison.RELATEDKemp worked as a contractor at the Air Force Research Laboratory from July 2016 to May 2019, according to court documents. After that he worked at the U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center. Both organizations are at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio.Kemp had a top secret security clearance while employed with the Air Force.On May 25, 2019, the 36-year-old awoke to at least 10 agents in tactical gear in his house, with an armored vehicle outside and drones flying overhead, according to court documents.Those agents found more than 100 documents, containing an estimated 2,500 pages of material classified at the secret level, according to the release.“Despite having training on various occasions on how to safeguard classified material, Kemp took 112 classified documents and retained them at his home,” acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel’s Office said in a statement.Kemp’s attorney argued in the sentencing deliberations that his client didn’t take the documents to undermine national security, made no profit from taking the documents and did not share them with any “entity with adverse interests to the United States of America,” according to court documents.Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.