During our Greatest Generation Meets the Next Generation panel event at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, Tamara shared this memorable moment in her career.
"I’ve had the opportunity to explore the world in my aircraft, usually garnering different experiences along the way. When I was flying my A10 in Korea, I was given the chance to go to an airshow in Tokyo along with the only other female in the squadron. The guys weren’t too excited saying “oh, they’re who’s going to represent us?” Reality is, when they go, they don’t represent us either. So off we went, but we had to stop in the southeast part of the peninsula to get some gas first. The Korean ground crew came out to meet us and were surprised to find we were women! We went inside to get the gas and when it was time to start our planes, they didn’t come out. We pulled up our own ladders, started up our planes and headed back out. What’s interesting is we had quite the opposite experience when we got to Japan. The day after we landed in Japan, while walking back to our aircraft, this guy comes up to me and hands me a picture of us walking away from the plane the day prior and says, “can you sign this?” And I thought, “well that’s… yes I’ll sign that, that’s wonderful, thank you.” I did not know that that was going to happen about a hundred more times! We ended up in four Japanese aviation magazines, and I just had no idea that they loved aviation so much! It was really an honor to take those jets over there and represent the United States."
Tamara Barlette is an active duty Lt Col in the United States Air Force stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. She is currently an instructor pilot in the T-38 Talon, the Air Force’s primary trainer for the fighter/bomber aircraft track. In addition to the T-38, Lt Col Barlette has flown the T-37 Tweet, the A-10 Warthog, the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper. She is also a graduate of the prestigious US Air Force Weapons School. She has more than 3000 total flight hours and over 1500 hours of combat support time in both Iraq and Afghanistan supporting and protecting our troops on the ground by providing real time reconnaissance and lethal support. Lt Col Barlette has earned a Bachelor of Science in Aging Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts in Ministry from Piedmont International University. She also owns her own business, has a passion for mentoring young women and enjoys public speaking. Lt Col Barlette is married to a Federal Agent and has three young children.