U. S. Air Force Col. Kim “KC” Campbell, EAA 1313778, who flew the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II in the Middle East and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2003, will be speaking about her career and experiences in the “Warthog” cockpit on Thursday, August 19, at 7 p. m. as part of the EAA Aviation Museum Aviation Adventure Speaker Series . This is the first Speaker Series event since the COVID-19 pandemic put in-person events at the EAA museum on pause beginning in March 2020.
Kim’s interest in aviation began back in 1986 when she was watching TV coverage of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Despite the tragedy and the fact that seven astronauts lost their lives that day, it inspired Kim.
“I decided after watching the Challenger launch, watching it and I think realizing at that moment that the astronauts died doing something that they believed in, that they felt strongly about and this thrill associated with the unknown and adventure, I decided that I wanted to follow in their footsteps and become an astronaut, ” she explained. “I talked to my parents about the particular best way to do that, and we had had a conversation about being a pilot in typically the Air Force and becoming a fighter pilot and that was a pretty good way to go. In fifth grade I decided that We was going to go to the Air Force Academy and become a fighter pilot, and then proceed on to be an astronaut. ”
Kim followed her dream of attending the Air Force Academy, graduating No . 7 in her class within 1997, attended graduate school for two years, plus went on to pilot training after that. Excelling in pilot training, Betty performed well enough to enter the fighter aircraft track and chose the close air support and ground-attack-oriented A-10 primarily because regarding its mission.
“I realized that I really enjoyed the low level routes during pilot training. I actually really enjoyed that aspect of flying. But My partner and i also started talking in order to people about the mission of the A-10, in addition to what appealed to me was being able to support our troops on this ground and the objective of close air assistance and being able to be able to bring our troops home safely really appealed for you to me. I just really thought that the mission was important and something, going back to the Challenger, right? Something that My spouse and i would be willing to help give my life for, something that was bigger than me and more important than me. ”
Kim finished pilot training in 2000, and was actually in the midst involving A-10 training on September 11, 2001. She finished A-10 training in December of that year and even was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. In 2003, in the early stages of the Iraq War, KC earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with regard to “outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty. ”
“Our mission during Operation Iraqi Freedom was towards provide close air help for the troops on the ground, ” Kim said. “On April 7, 2003, I was assigned to go provide close air support over downtown Baghdad, and we got a call regarding troops in a contact situation where our troops on the ground were taking a fire and needed immediate assistance. My flight lead and I were able to provide them often the support that they needed. On my last pass, as I was coming off target, I got hit with a surface-to-air missile. But I had been capable to successfully bring your airplane back for a safe landing 300 miles away back at our home base in Kuwait. That’s the 30-second version. ”
Since then, Kim has bounced around to various assignments in the Air Force. She spent four years at Pope Air flow Force Base going back and forth between Afghanistan and Iraq until 2005, then went to the exact 422 nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Atmosphere Force Base, where the girl transitioned from the A-10A that will the A-10C and led testing on the new variant. Between 2009 together with 2012, Kim held numerous positions at Davis-Monthan Usaf Base, including director connected with operations for the 357 th Fighter Squadron and commander of the 355 th Operations Support Squadron. Between August 2012 and June 2016, the lady was in Washington D. C., including an assignment inside the Office from the Secretary of Defense within the Pentagon for two years as military assistant to the very Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Following that will assignment, Kim returned so that you can Davis-Monthan as commander with the 612 a Theater Operations Group and 474 th Surroundings Expeditionary Group. Since July 2018, she has worked at the U. S. Weather Force Academy in Colorado as the chair for airpower innovation and integration within the Department of Military and Strategic Studies.
Thursday’s event is free regarding EAA members and youth 18 and under, and additionally just $5 for nonmembers.
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