This weekend, California Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing flew over Disney California Adventure to celebrate Captain Marvel! While the national guard pilots flew overhead, members of the air force joined together at Paradise Park. Among the members of this prestigious group were some truly notable female members of the air guard! We wanted to take a moment to appreciate the women who inspired Carol Danvers and truly went “Higher, Further, Faster”!
While many in the crowd had their eyes fixed toward the sky during the Captain Marvel Flyover, on the ground were a couple dozen U.S. Air Force Airmen who were both honored and celebrated for their service to our country as well as the pivotal role they played in consulting on the Captain Marvel film.
Quite possibly one of the most understated, but most monumental components of the Captain Marvel Flyover was the presence of three Airmen in particular – Brigadier General Kristin E. Goodwin, Lieutenant General Jackie Van Ovost, and Brigadier General Jeannie M. Leavitt. When these ladies led the group of Airmen to the gathering place near one of the World of Color viewing locations, it was clear that they carried with them a presence that was revered by the entire crowd – especially by a young girl who was dressed in head-to-toe Captain Marvel gear and looked up at the Airmen completely enamored with the situation.
Kristin E. Goodwin
Brigadier General Kristin E. Goodwin knew, at 10 years old, that she was going to be an Airman in the United States Air Force. In 2019 she has now served in the USAF for more than a quarter of a century and has earned a long list of accolades. Some accomplishments include being the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. as well as being the first-ever female Bomb Wing Commander. BGen Goodwin commanded the 2d Bomb Wing, which is home to both the B-2 and B-52H Bombers.
During her time in command of the 2d Bomb Wing, she was also responsible for leading the B-52 back into combat for the first time in a decade. Recently she was the Commander of Cadets for the U.S. Air Force Academy but has transitioned to the role of Director of current operations for Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff, at the Pentagon.
Lieutenant General Jackie Van Ovost
Lieutenant General Jackie Van Ovost has also held her fair share of notable positions during her time as an Airman. Currently, she serves as the impressive Director of Staff, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. Lt Gen Van Ovost is an incredibly accomplished and highly regarded Airman and previously held the honor of commanding the 89th Airlift Wing, which just so happens to be home of Air Force 1. She has flown both as an Experimental Test Pilot as well as a Test Pilot Instructor and has more than 4,200 flight hours.
Brigadier General, Jeannie M. Leavitt
Last, but certainly not least, we were honored to be in the presence of historical Brigadier General, Jeannie M. Leavitt. BGen Leavitt became the United States Air Force’s first-ever female fighter pilot in 1993 and was the first-ever woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing. BGen Leavitt made history when she became the first female fighter pilot after the ban on women in air combat roles was lifted in 1993, but her intent was never to be the first female fighter pilot. She merely wanted to fly fighters, and it just so happens that she resulted in being the first one.
That trend continued as she became the first woman to take control of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, and consequently the highest-ranking female commanding officer at the base as well. She may not have wanted the attention that has been bestowed upon her over the years, but BGen Leavitt became a pivotal consultant on the Captain Marvel film, working directly with Brie Larson to help develop her character as Carol Danvers. Some have even speculated that Carol Danvers military service and the story might mirror some of BGen Leavitt’s personal trailblazing military journey.
Just as these courageous Airmen have pioneered into uncharted territory to pursue their dreams and serve in the way they were called from a young age, inspiring thousands of females to break the mold, Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel will likely do the same. The Captain Marvel Flyover did more than just give fans an opportunity to get excited about the latest blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but is a symbol of daring to dream the biggest dreams and having the chance to honor the heroes who have inspired you to chase the impossible.
Captain Marvel comes to theaters this week on March 7, just in time for International Women’s Day. The film follows Captain Carol Danvers, a fighter pilot that goes on to become the most powerful superhero in the galaxy! She may be our only hope to save the Avengers from Thanos in End Game and we can’t wait to see how she saves our universe.