A female pilot of the Philippine Air Force has been selected as one of the recipients of the Aviation Leadership Program (ALP), a United States Air Force scholarship program for selected officers from around the world.
Second Lieutenant Catherine Mae Gonzales, the first female pilot from the Philippine Air Force to receive the scholarship, will attend the program from February 2018 to May 2019, the US Embassy in Manila announced Monday.
She will receive 164 hours of flight training in the T-6A Texan II aircraft, as well as 239 hours of flight operations ground training.
The ALP is intended to build relationships between future leaders of the US Air Force and other air forces around the world, as well as to increase overall cooperations and partnership with other countries, the embassy said.
Gonzales, a member of PMA Class of 2017, hails from Zamboanga. It was the Zamboanga siege in 2013, an urban armed conflict between government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, that served as one of her inspirations to pursue her dream to become a pilot.
“During those times, I really felt a great eagerness to defend my hometown, and I thought I could be of great help to that mission from above, since insurgents are vulnerable from this point,” she was quoted as saying.
She said she is honored to represent the Philippines for the program: “Serving my country as a female officer shows how the military profession has matured and opened for great changes by allowing us, female officers, to lead.” /je
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