The United Arab Emirate’s first female air force pilot, Major Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, led the airstrikes against the Islamic State (also called ISIS or ISIL) targets earlier this week, reports Fox News anchor Bret Baier.
A squadron commander of F-16 jets, Al Mansouri coordinated attacks with nations like Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar on ISIS strongholds near the Syrian cities Raqqa, Aleppo, and Idlib.
Al Mansouri joined the UAE air force in 2007 when military officials announced they would accept female recruits for training at the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College.
In her earlier years of service she worked for general command and was quickly recognized as a hardworking, detail-oriented pilot.
Instead of competing with her male counterparts, Al Mansouri told Deraa Al Watan magazine that she focused on competing with herself to improve her skills,” reports The National.
Al Mansouri said she was not given special treatment during training because of her gender. “Everybody is required to have the same high level of combat competence,” she said.
Earlier this year, the Social Progress Index ranked the UAE No. 1 in the world for treating women with respect and equality.
Born in Abu Dhabi, Al Mansouri is one of eight children and holds a degree in English literature.
Source: Business Insider