This is Fiona Akoth.
She is from Kisumu County and first joined the Colombia Airforce Base in 2017 as a 14th Student Squadron Student Pilot in Mississippi, USA.
Akoth has always wanted to be a pilot and to be a pilot is the world’s most powerful military is something she never imagined would happen.
She spent her younger years in Kisumu with her grandparents while her mother attended college in the U.S. She moved to the U.S. at 13 years old, and attended middle school in Texas.
“I was well engrained in the roots back in Kenya. I had to leave a familiar country with a familiar group of friends when I was just becoming a teenager looking for a solid foundation, and that was challenging,” she recalled her move.
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U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft, known as A-10 Thunderbolt II, perform an "elephant walk," which refers to the close formation of military aircraft before takeoff. The A-10 Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. (af.mil) 📷:Instagram/@usairforce – #usairforce #a10thunderbolt #elephantwalk #voanews
Close to her home in Kenya there was an airport where her and her friends would sit and watch the planes fly every day.
It was this moment when she realized that she wanted to be a pilot.
“It has been my destiny to become a pilot,” Akoth said. “My grandfather always told me to never give up on my dream and now here I am.”
Prior to her training, Akoth was chosen to be part of the Language Enabled Airman Program because she is fluent in Swahili.
LEAP allows Airmen who can speak another language fluently to translate and help build community relations with local populations near military installations.
“It was a unique experience,” Akoth said. “I got to go back to Africa and help the Air Force communicate with my people.”
Akoth said she strives to be a role model for all the young women in her hometown and anyone who has a dream. She has put in the extra work and dedication and now she is living her dream.