In our first episode of our "Grads in the Cockpit" series, we will feature USAFA graduates who are pilots within the fighter class of aviation. The panel will include the first woman to pilot an F-35 fighter jet, a test pilot who has flown over 70 different aircraft, an A-10 pilot who is at the forefront of testing better equipment for women in the cockpit, a F-15E evaluator pilot who exemplifies the duty of giving back to your community, and a T-6 FAIP who is innovating the way of training through his YouTube channel.
Lt Col (Ret.) Christine "Grinder" Mau, Class of 1997
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christine “Grinder” Mau is a 1997 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and is the world’s first ever female F-35 fighter pilot. She currently works for Lockheed Martin as an F-35 instructor pilot at Eglin AFB, FL. Mau previously flew the F-15E Strike Eagle and has over 500 combat flying hours as part of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Southern Watch, Northern Watch and Enduring Freedom.
Lt Col (Ret.) Chris Glaeser, Class of 1975
Lt Col (Ret.) Chris Glaeser has had the privilege of flying many fighter aircraft, both operationally, and in flight test during his 23 years post-USAFA service. This includes operational tours in the F-4E, an exchange tour with the Luftwaffe in the F-104G, a year in the RAF at the Empire Test Pilot School (Lightning, Jaguar, Hawk, Hunter) and at their flight test center, a tour as an instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School, and command of an F-16 test unit at Edwards AFB testing sensors & weapons used in the Gulf War. He also flew the F-4D and F-16 in the NY Air National Guard for many years after leaving active duty, mostly Air Defense and drug interception, and ended his career back at Edwards AFB as a USAF Reserves Test Pilot on the senior staff at Edwards.
Maj Joseph "Paveway" Bledsoe III, Class of 2011
Major Joseph “Paveway” Bledsoe III is a proud 2011 Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate and AOG member. Upon graduation from the Academy, Joseph attended graduate school at the University of Maryland and received his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. While living in Maryland, he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives implementing strategic political strategy. Major Bledsoe then completed pilot training and now serves as Assistant Director of Operations and F-15E evaluator pilot where he is entrusted with training the next generation of combat airpower aviators. Joseph has over 1,100 F-15E hours, including 344 combat hours over Iraq and Syria.
Capt Charlene Sufficool, Class of 2016
Capt Sufficool is an A-10C Flight Lead assigned to the 354th Fighter Squadron as Executive Officer, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. She is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Geospatial Science, minored in Japanese, and commissioned in June 2016. She attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, flying the T-6 and T-38. Upon graduation, Captain Sufficool attended training in the A-10C at Davis-Monthan and after completing the course, she moved down the street to the 354th Fighter Squadron. During her assignment, Capt Sufficool deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in October 2019 and flew 38 combat missions.
1Lt Courtland White, Class of 2018
1Lt Courtland P. White is a graduate of the USAFA class of 2018. 1Lt White is a former Falcon Foundation scholar and studied at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, MO prior to being accepted into USAFA. While at USAFA, 1Lt White studied Computer Science and was a Glider Instructor Pilot. 1Lt White went on to pilot training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma where he flew T-6s and T-38s. After completing pilot training, 1Lt White was selected among his peers to return to pilot training to teach students as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot.