EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, --
Airman 1st Class Brianna Lisner, 58th Fighter Squadron aerospace scheduler, was selected for a T-38C Talon II incentive flight with the intention of one day becoming an Air Force fighter pilot.
"I'm super grateful for this experience," said Lisner. "It opened up my eyes and showed me that even though I was nervous, sitting in that aircraft and taking off gave me that warm fuzzy feeling and I knew this is exactly what I want to do."
After experiencing a few years as an enlisted member, Lisner plans to apply to the Air Force Academy in pursuit of her dream.
Meanwhile, on Lisner’s own time, she has been working on earning her private pilot’s license.
“Having my private pilot’s license will show that aviation is what I really want to do," said Lisner. "It gives me a background in basic aviation."
The desire to become a pilot came from her inspiration Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, former Air Force Thunderbird pilot, who passed away in a training accident earlier this year. Del Bagno was an F-35A Lightning II pilot at the 33rd Fighter Wing before transitioning to the Thunderbirds.
"I worked many 12 hour shifts with Cajun,” said Lisner. “He was one of those guys that just made you feel good about yourself. The first time he heard about me wanting to commission, he jumped on the boat to help me get all my documents together and get leadership involved."
Lisner found a mentor in Del Bagno and grieved his loss deeply, but she’s found inspiration in the fact that he passed away doing what he loved most.
“Cajun definitely showed me what it means to be a good dude and a good pilot,” said Lisner. “It's those memories that I had with him that are going to push me to where I want to be.”
While the road ahead of her won’t be easy, Lisner is well aware of the challenges she will face in the coming years.
"There are so many steps to get to where I want to be, but I'm willing to go that far and do whatever it takes to become the best Air Force pilot I can be,” said Lisner.