First ever Latina US Military pilot, Olga Custodio, is an inspiration to women everywhere

It would be difficult to find anyone more tenacious, determined, and just downright inspirational as Olga Custodio or Lieutenant Colonel Custodio as she's known in the Air Force. Custidio is a Puerto Rican mom…who also just happens to be the first ever Latina US military pilot.

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Since she was young, Custodio has been breaking the mold. She spent the first 15 years of her life traveling between continents with her family, spending her first two school years in Taiwan and then bouncing to Jersey, Iran, and Paraguay.  At only 16, she graduated from high school and went to college in Puerto Rico, where she was turned away from the university's ROTC program because women were not allowed. After graduating, she worked various jobs where she met her now husband and soon became a mother.

When her daughter was three, she applied to be an air force officer for the third time , this time refusing to take no for an answer. "The sergeant asked me to name three career choices," she told Fox News.  "I told him I would be a pilot, a pilot and a pilot." Finally, Custodio got her wish, graudting from Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training. For 24 years, she served in the force, ending her run with the official title of Lieutenant and earning an Aviation Safety award along the way.

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And she still wasn't done—after retiring from the military, she became the first Latina to become a commercial airline captain and has flown a variety of airplanes around the world. Now, after over 11,000 hours flying in her lifetime, she only takes flight on occasion for fun. Plus she has continued to give back to the Latino community, mentoring students and serving as the Vice President of the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals.

Seriously, have you ever heard of anyone with more accomplishments? I am blown away by all of her amazing achievements, but even moreso by her obvious strength and utter determination. Custodio is an inspiration to Latinas, to the Hispanic community, and to all women in general. And her mantra, "Querer es poder," is one everyone--both male and female--should aspire to meet.

What do you think of Custodio's story? Tell us in the comments below!

Images via expertinfantry/flickr, Olga Custodio/facebook

Topics: latina role models  mamáslatinas awards