Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better-paying jobs and a lower cost of living.She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.
But long before she was old enough for college, she stu-mbled upon what would become her passion: flying. She took her first flight in high school as part of the Air Fo*ce Junior ROTC. First, she flew a small, fixed-wing plane and then a Bl*ck Hawk helicopter. In 2013, Jefferies became the first African American female Bl*ck Hawk pilot in the North Carolina Army National Guard.
She graduated from UNC and went on to get a master’s degree in counseling from UNC Greensboro. Today, she serves as the medevac detachment commander of North Carolina’s only unit where she helps saves people from emergencies or d!sa-sters. In addition to flying, she also works as a counselor at Brighter Days Counseling in Salisbury working primary in couples therapy.
Jefferies joins host Frank Stasio to share stories of finding her voice, knowing her worth and the trail she bla-zed in the military. On her role and responsibilities as a Bl*ck Hawk pilot: Typically in the Army, we have two sets of missions for the Bl*ck Hawk. It will be the as*ault or the medavac. And I was initially as*aul-ted, and that’s air as*ault where we put tro-ops inside, and we’ll land and allow the tro-ops to get out.
As I increased in rank and responsibility, I transitioned to the medavac where we secure the wo*nded and the !nju-red. On the reality of flying a Bl*ck Hawk helicopter: It is s*ary. The very first time you do a sling load or attach anything to the bottom you have to realize there’s something on the outside of the helicopter which adds an incredible amount of r!sk, because what if something happens to it?
On how her childhood imp*cted her path: We moved around a lot — a little bit of inst*bility financially. In my mind, I wanted to have a sta*le home when I grew up. And for me it started with education. We had a social worker when we were younger, and I loved the way she helped our family, and I wanted to do that. So that’s what got me into the soft sciences and helping sciences.
On the military’s efforts to be more inclusive of women: There are different support systems and mentorship programs [in place for women] — Sisters in Boots, Beauties in Boots — on the civ!lian side and in the military to try to close the gap. But with the d!sparity and the history of the military being an all-male fo*ce, it’s going to be a long road. But I see a lot more support than back*ash.
This Article First Published On WUNC