A woman who was once rescued from a Superdome by helicopter during Hurricane Katrina became the first black female pilot in the Louisiana Army.
Warrant officer Tatiana Julien of New Orleans piloted a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Company B, 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, based in Hammond.
“I feel I now have a responsibility to inform young women that aviation is an option for them, even though it is a male-dominated field,” she said in a press release on Thursday. “There are not many women and even fewer black women in aviation, both military and civilian.
She said she had no idea she would be a pioneer when she asked for training.
“It feels surreal,” she said.
The 115 helicopter pilots of the Louisiana Army National Guard include six African Americans, three other minorities and five women, including Julien, a sergeant. Denis Ricou, a security spokesman, said in an email.
Julien decided to become a pilot after seeing a black New Orleans pilot in her unit while she was stationed in the Middle East from 2017 to 2018. This pilot became her mentor.
“We often don’t realize the impact we have on other people’s lives. “Just seeing someone do their job is enough to pique interest,” Julien said.
She graduated from the School for Candidate Officers in August 2019 and graduated from Flying School on July 21, 2021.
Julien has an associate degree when she enrolled in 2014 to continue her education. She now holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Orleans and intends to pursue a master’s degree in either consulting education or human resources.
The pilot he met in the Middle East, now Chief Warrant Officer 4 Troy Willis, said: “I am extremely proud of Julien. Her level of intelligence and curiosity really stand out, which makes her a perfect candidate to become a pilot, and I believe that the diversity of our armed forces is what makes us strong.
Retired sergeant. Grade 1 Haywood Harrison, another of Julien’s mentors, is now asking her to speak with his junior reserve officer training classes at Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge.
“My students had to see someone who looked like them, someone who wasn’t exposed to helicopters but was able to look for the things she had to do to become the first African-American pilot” in the Louisiana National Guard. , he said. .
Julien said she would like to speak with students at George Washington Carver High School in New Orleans, her alma mater.
“I feel that exposure is simply not available for many young black children in the community where I grew up. “A lot of us don’t know about opportunities like this,” Julien said.
Julien knows first hand how valuable emergency missions can be. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Julien and her family were rescued from the Superdome by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. They’ve been there for a week.
“Hope, security and relief were all I felt at that moment. “I am in a situation where I may have to do the same for someone else,” she said.
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