A Spirited first

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joseph Garcia
  • 509th Bomb Wing

Maj. Jennifer Crum has made U.S. Air Force history.

Earlier this year, the 393rd Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations, became the first pilot ever to fly the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber while pregnant.

Crum didn’t set out to make history when she first joined the Air Force.

Flying was always a passion for her however, she didn’t even start her Air Force career as a pilot. She commissioned as an intelligence officer at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

Even though she wasn’t a pilot yet, she sought out ways to achieve her goal of flying.

“I did a ton of general aviation flying, got my private pilot license and even got my gliding rating,” said Crum. “Flying was just something my husband and I did in our free time, so it’s always been a part of my life.”

Her passion soon turned into her career once an opportunity to fly the B-2 opened up. Coming to Whiteman to fly the world’s premiere stealth bomber meant starting a new chapter in her life including starting a family.

“When I got pregnant with my first son, I stopped flying and got moved out of the 13th Bomb Squadron and definitely felt like I got pulled out of the fight,” Crum said. “It kind of sucks but I understand why it happened.”

She was pulled from piloting because, at the time, female pilots could not fly aircraft with ejection seats while pregnant. Instead, she spent her time out of the cockpit caring for her son and being assigned a desk job in intelligence again.

Things would be different when she got pregnant for a second time.

Around the time that she had her first child, the Air Force released new standards for female pilots that would open more doors for them. Now, for the first time, pregnant pilots can fly in aircraft with ejection seats, including the B-2.

Not only does Crum get to continue doing what she loves, she also gets to keep on helping her team.

“Maj. Crum is one of our best and most talented pilots,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Bressett, 393rd Bomb Squadron director of operations. “Keeping her on flying status and in the cockpit throughout her pregnancy is a huge win for our squadron and is a major step forward in how the Air Force views female pilots during this important part of their lives.”

While Crum is happy to be flying, it hasn’t been without a few challenges along the way.

“There’s not that many women in our B-2 community,” Crum said. “So there’s a lot of things you have to figure out flying while pregnant, and luckily I'm in a community that’s very understanding and welcoming.”

As she was breaking new ground, she also learned lessons that she hopes to pass on to the next pilot to choose to fly while pregnant.

The doors the Air Force opened to pregnant pilots like Crum allows them to continue honing their skills, making the Air Force more lethal and keeping Whiteman ready to execute global strike… anytime, anywhere.