Humans of Country Day: Lt. Col. Jennifer Avery


Photograph by KSD

Alum and Air Force Vet Lt. Col. Jennifer Avery

Lieutenant Colonel Retired Jennifer Avery graduated from Miami Country Day School in 1990. She was the first woman to fly the B-2 stealth bomber in combat. Her first mission was flying over Kosovo in 1999 when she became the most junior pilot to fly the B-1 bomber. Her mother, Denise Wilson, teaches in the Lower School.

“I always wanted to be an astronaut, ever since I was a little girl, so that’s kind of what encouraged me to pursue an avenue of a science degree. My uncle had taken me on an Air Force Base when I was a kid and I just thought it was really neat to drive on the Air Force Base, they saluted him, and the environment just intrigued me. I went to Georgia Tech, and I was a biology major, and then I signed up for ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps]. So I joined ROTC when I was in college. I excelled at that program and I was selected for one of the coveted pilot training slots, and that’s how I went on to fly the B-1 and the B-2. Some of the challenges I faced as the first woman to fly the B-2 stealth bomber in combat really revolved around myself and overcoming the feeling that I wasn’t good enough to do something. Going through all my training, especially when flying the B-2, I would always worry like, oh, were people looking at me and thinking that I wasn’t doing well because I was a woman, but I don’t know if they were really thinking that, I think that was just me being a little self conscious. That was probably one of the biggest hurdles to get over, just to do my best and try my hardest and know that whatever happens, happens and to never look back. A lot of things in life are how you perceive them. You can perceive them two ways and I always tend to perceive the better side than the negative side, and maybe that has contributed to my success. When you find something that you really truly love, you really put 100% into it and that is what I did with learning how to fly.”

-Lieutenant Colonel Retired Jennifer Avery