Captain Shannon Huffman Polson, Former AH-64A Attack Helicopter Pilot, US Army

"Hearing about the courage and determination of these incredibly amazing women, the WASP, can help us understand this important and underrepresented piece of history, as well as realize the possibilities and potential for all of our daughters and sons."

Captain Shannon Huffman Polson is one of the first women to fly the AH-64A attack helicopter in the United States Army and first female Apache pilot assigned to a line unit in the XVIII Airborne Corps. 

(Photo credit: Shannon Huffman Polson)

(Photo credit: Shannon Huffman Polson)

The first woman Apache pilot assigned to a line unit in the XVIII Airborne Corps, Shannon led two platoons at Fort Bragg, taking one to Bosnia in support of the Stabilization Force enforcing the Dayton Peace Accords. Shannon trained in military intelligence and was stationed in the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea where she was the first woman to command a line company flying in support of OPLAN 5027. At her last unit, she worked with the development of the doctrine of time sensitive targeting for theater missile defense, deploying to Kuwait, Korea and domestically in support of multinational joint forces exercises.

Shannon's mission is to use her experiences in leadership and courage to help others, speaking about courage and transformation, leadership, creativity and grit, and to use storytelling with teams and organizations to succeed in times of change, overcome obstacles, and inspire and transform. In 2009, she was recognized by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell as a Woman of Valor.

"Hearing about the courage and determination of these incredibly amazing women, the WASP, can help us understand this important and underrepresented piece of history, as well as realize the possibilities and potential for all of our daughters and sons."

FlyGirls is proud to announce its latest program addition is Shannon's column, The GRIT Project, which will appear on our website as part of our blog on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning January 25th. You won't want to miss it!

Shannon on Grit: "As one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter, I faced a lot of resistance, and I came to think of what my experience those eight years required as defined primarily by grit. The GRIT Project came about after I agreed to mentor a new Army Aviation 2LT through a women officer’s mentoring program and thought about how to scale that advice. I wanted to gather advice from seasoned leaders from a broad demographic in order to guide new leaders today, especially around that elusive and critical performance metric of GRIT."