MIYAZAKI – 1st Lt. Misa Matsushima, 26, has become Japan’s first woman to qualify as an F-15 fighter jet pilot.
longtime dream has come true. I want to become a fully-fledged pilot,
no different from men, as soon as possible,” said Matsushima after a
ceremony Thursday at an Air Self-Defense Force base in Miyazaki
Prefecture, marking the completion of a training course to become an
F-15 fighter pilot.
According to the ASDF, Matsushima, who completed the
course alongside five men, is expected to start work piloting F-15s in
six to 12 months, after undergoing further training to qualify to
scramble the jet to intercept aircraft intruding into Japan’s airspace.
hope she will continue to blaze that difficult path and become a role
model for women who aspire to become fighter pilots,” said Osamu Uemori,
who taught her on the training course.
A Yokohama native,
Matsushima joined the ASDF after graduating from the National Defense
Academy in March 2014. After obtaining her pilot’s license in October
2016, she continued to work towards becoming a fighter pilot.
will be assigned to the 5th Air Wing at the Nyutabaru Air Base in the
prefecture on Friday and will continue her training there.
the Defense Ministry aiming to double the number of female Self-Defense
Force members, it has been easing restrictions to allow women to work
effectively in all fields. The ASDF abolished gender restrictions on
personnel becoming fighter and reconnaissance aircraft pilots in