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First female Commander of F-35A Demo Team hopes to inspire girls to dream big

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 19:55:50-04

OGDEN, Utah — At Hill Air Force Base, one woman is making history with the F-35-A Demo Team.

Captain Kristin “Beo” Wolfe is one of four female fighter pilots stationed at the base.

In 2020, Wolfe became the first female commander of the F-35A Demo Team.

WATCH: Utah-based F-35A Demonstration Team releases new, unseen video

Flying is a sight and sound Wolfe was raised with.

“From my birth to college, I was always around Air Force planes, moving around to different bases and states every couple of years,” said Wolfe.

Her father was a pilot, yet it was never Wolfe’s dream to become one herself.

The California native started pursuing an engineering degree in Alabama, when she decided that wasn’t what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

“I looked into joining the military service,” said Wolfe.

Soon, Wolfe chose to follow her father’s footsteps and became a fighter pilot.

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Her focus was all tactical and Wolfe's call sign became “Beo.”

“Every step of the way I thought about what plane do I want, what crew do I want,” said Wolfe.

For six years Wolfe moved from base to base.

After serving as an instructor pilot for three years in Langley, Virginia, Wolfe transitioned from flying F-22’s to Flying F-35’s at Hill Air Force Base.

Wolfe trained as a fighter pilot for the first three years at the base.

“As a female, we’re already outnumbered in the military in general and then you look in the pilot field, way outnumbered,” said Wolfe. “Then you get further in the fighter pilot community.”

Four percent or less of each fighter squadron is made up of females, said Wolfe.

Wolfe is one of the four female pilots stationed at Hill Air Force Base out of about one hundred pilots.

In 2020, Wolfe traded in tactical practices for performances, making history as she became the first female commander of the F-35A Demo Team.

“It’s pretty empowering to be in control of a multi-million-dollar airplane with 40,000 pounds of thrust,” said Wolfe.

Their team tries to fly in 20 air shows a year.

Due to the pandemic, Wolfe and her team flew in 12 air shows within six months.

Captain of the only F-35A Demo team in the United States, if not the world, Wolfe said she loves seeing the crowd's reaction when they realize the pilot is a female.

“Just seeing the people in tears and a five-year-old say, I didn’t know females fly planes. That is what we’re here to do,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe will hold her position as commander for two years and then she will train the next commander for the demo team.