July 23, 2008 (by Tyler Hemstreet) - Capt. Jammie Jamieson left the state of Washington with a fledgling love of flying. This weekend she returns as the first female operational and combat-ready pilot of the world's most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-22A Raptor.
Capt. Jammie Jamieson poses with F-22A block no. 01-4023 in this photo dated March 20th, 2008. The Capt. is the first female operational and combat-ready pilot of the F-22. [USAF Courtesy photo]
Captain Jamieson, who was born in Tacoma and lived in Prosser from 1982 until she left for the Air Force Academy in 1996, will be on hand as part of the F-22A Raptor static display featured at McChord Air Expo 2008.
"I'm excited to come back to Washington," said Captain Jamieson, who is currently stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where she is the mobility flight commander for the 525th Fighter Squadron. "(At the expo) you get to meet a lot of people excited about aviation and air power, so that's pretty inspiring. It's definitely an honor for me to be there."
The Prosser High grad got her first taste of flying growing up when she shared the cockpit with her uncle in his Cessna 172 during local flights around central Washington.
"I loved it," she said.
The quest that started in part from a strong desire to be an astronaut soon took on a more direct connection with flying at the academy as Captain Jamieson worked as an instructor in the glider program. After receiving her commission through the academy in 2000 and a master's degree in public policy in national security and political economy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2002, Captain Jamieson completed the F-15C Basic Course at Tyndall AFB
, Fla. After three years flying the F-15C in Alaska, she completed the F-22A Transition Qualification Course at Tyndall in April.
"It's cool to have a job with the view that it offers when I'm in the sky," she said.
Although her job as a fighter pilot requires long hours of flying practice each week, Captain Jamieson said it's an honor to be able to fly an aircraft like the Raptor.
"It's a challenging and exciting experience every day," the captain said. "Air-to-air combat is very fluid and is always changing."
Captain Jamieson said she's looking forward to educating people on the F-22 and what's it like to be a fighter pilot. There may even be some young pilots with big dreams in attendance -- something the captain can no doubt relate to.
"The kids are the most exciting," she said. "I'll be able to answer as many questions as I can ... I'm looking forward to that."