Of course the flight patches had to be pink

The US put together an all female flight crew for one of their refuelling tankers:

It took lots of arranging, since there is only one female Boeing KC–10 flight engineer in the U.S. Air Force, but for one mission an all-female crew operated an aerial refueling tanker above the Middle East. For this special event, they wore shoulder patches that said, “Gucci Girls; Unmanned KC-10 Flight.”

The crew took pleasure in telling fuel-hungry combat crews they were approaching an “unmanned” refueling tanker. KC-10 pilot 1st Lt. Jen Carter said the daylong effort was more about boosting morale than setting a precedent. It took place from an undisclosed base in the Middle East. The lone U.S. Air Force flight engineer is Staff Sgt. Sarah Lockley. “Today’s flight was awesome,” Lockley said, noting it was the first time reservists and active duty personnel have flown on the same aircraft.

GUCCI GIRLS? WTFbarf. Way to trivialise women doing a crucial job in a combat zone, USAF.

4 women in air force uniforms

Still, air force Lt. Col. Kenneth Moss has a good point:

“I think it’s great,” Moss said. “The role of women in the military has increased greatly over the years, and the presence of women in all [Air Force specialty codes] has expanded to the point that sometimes we forget how far they have had to come. However, my young daughter unintentionally reminds me every day that she needs women to look up to; she needs women to prove that nothing is impossible; she needs female role models. I think an all-female crew shows her that another potential obstacle to her dreams no longer exists.”

Categories: gender & feminism, media

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9 replies

  1. *Headdesk*

  2. Yeah. The women themselves? Great to see that they’re there doing the work and that they got the chance to fly together for once. Great that they can see themselves as inspirational as they so definitely are.
    The name? *headdesk*

  3. Yes, *headdesk* to the name (and the pinkification) but:

    she needs women to prove that nothing is impossible; she needs female role models. I think an all-female crew shows her that another potential obstacle to her dreams no longer exists.

    I love that sentiment.

  4. So, I don’t know anything about the USAF. But I read about this somewhere else (don’t remember where, of course) and someone commented that KC-10 flight crews are called “Gucci boys” by… some other (older?) airplane’s flight crews. So if that’s true, that makes “Gucci girls” make much more sense. Unfortunately no-one outside the USAF will know about this context, of course.

    • I did wonder whether there was some USAF historical context that might make that name choice less hornswoggling. I just hope that the original nomenclature of “Gucci boys” wasn’t some sort of masculinity policing because the crews of the refuelling tankers are outside the active fire zones.

  5. “Gucci boys” is common USAF slang for KC-10 tanker crews, originating (depending on who you ask) as a commentary on either (a) the various onboard amenities the KC-10s have or (b) the fact that KC-10 crews were not forward deployed in the old days, so they got cushy accommodations back on base or in hotels rather than sleeping in forward airbase barracks.

  6. Patches are a huge thing in USAF culture. Each group, graduating class, squadron, or crew designs their own. A lot of the time, the symbols, images, or names are an inside joke, or they may center around their aircraft. I’m not familiar with the KC-10, so I don’t know what they call it, but it may well be “Gucci.”
    There are a lot of collectors of these patches–I have a small collection myself. Airmen often trade them, and sometimes they’re given as a gift as well. It’s a huge honor to receive a patch as a gift.

  7. In the 80’s it was the nicest jet that wasn’t a distinguished visitor transport. Comfy seats, fridge, coffee maker, etc. Since Gucci was “the” brand at the time, other crews envious of the comfort nicknamed KC-10 crews “Gucci boys”.
    Those that flew them are quite proud of the term, which you can tell from a quick google search.

  8. The crew probably designed the patch themselves.

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