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Meet Louisiana Army National Guard’s first Black female pilot


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Meet Louisiana Army National Guard’s first Black female pilot


PINEVILLE, La. — A woman who was once rescued from the Superdome on a helicopter during Hurricane Katrina has gone on to become the Louisiana Army National Guard’s first Black female pilot.

Warrant Officer Tatiana Julien of New Orleans pilots a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in B Company, 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, which is based in Hammond.

“I feel like I now have a responsibility to let young females know that aviation is an option for them even though it is a male-dominated field,” she said in a news release sent Thursday. “There aren’t many women, and even fewer Black women in aviation, both in the military and on the civilian side.”

She said she had no idea she’d be a trailblazer when she asked for the training.

“It feels surreal,” she said. The Louisiana Army National Guard’s 115 or so helicopter pilots include six African Americans, three other minorities and five women, including Julien, Sgt. Dennis Ricou, a guard spokesman, said in an email. Julien decided to become a pilot after seeing a Black pilot from New Orleans in her unit while it was deployed to the Middle East from 2017 to 2018. That pilot became her mentor.

“We often don’t realize what kind of impact we have on other people’s lives. Simply seeing someone doing their job is enough to spark an interest,” said Julien.

She graduated Warrant Officer Candidate School in August 2019 and completed flight school on July 21, 2021.

Julien had an associate degree when she enlisted 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 her master’s degree in either counseling education or human resources.

 

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