SEATTLE, March 4, 2022—On March 12, the Museum will celebrate International Women in Aviation and Women’s History Month with an inspiring lecture and booksigning with five women military aviators who have the right stuff. The event, Shatter the Sky – Women in Military Aviation, includes veteran Air Force Col. Merryl Tengesdal and Col. Eileen Bjorkman, plus veteran Army Capt. Shannon Huffman Polson, Air Force Capt. Garciela Tiscareno-Sato and Marine Capt. Vernice Armour. Polson was one of the Army’s first women pilots to fly Apache helicopters, Armour was the Marine’s first African American female pilot, and Tengesdal is the first and only African American woman to fly the U. S. Air Force U-2 Aircraft.

All are authors. The audience is welcome to ask questions of the speakers. A booksigning follows the program. The 2 p.m. event is free with admission to the Museum. Program presented in partnership with Freedom Sisters.

Panelists: Shatter the Sky – Women in Military Aviation

Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Merryl Tengesdal
Merryl Tengesdal is the first and only African American woman to fly the U. S. Air Force U-2 Aircraft. She is a retired Colonel with over 23 years of aviation and leadership experience in both the Navy and Air Force. She has always had a passion for fitness to maintain peak physical conditioning for the physiological challenges encountered in flight. Now she leverages her fitness knowledge and military experience to help others achieve their own personal goals, and is a NASM & AFAA Certified Personal Trainer.

Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Eileen Bjorkman
Eileen loves all things aviation, with a particular passion for military and homebuilt aircraft. She is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 700+ hours of flying time as a flight test engineer in 25 different types of military aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130, and C-141. As a civilian pilot, she holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is a Certificated Flight Instructor with more than 2,000 hours of flying time. She owns and flies an aerobatic airplane.

Veteran U.S. Army Capt. Shannon Huffman Polson
After a childhood in Alaska, she studied English literature and art history at Duke University. At graduation she was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Army Aviation and became one of the first women to fly Apache helicopters, serving on three continents and leading two flight platoons and a line company. Devoted to leadership and building up leaders, Shannon launched The Grit Institute. She is a devoted mom and wife creating impact, adventure and opportunity for others.

Veteran U.S. Air Force Capt. Garciela Tiscareno-Sato
Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a highly-decorated military veteran, bilingual STEM consultant to K-12 school districts, and a sought-after speaker on environmental entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and the Latino educational crisis and solutions. Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, School of Environmental Design, where she earned a degree in Environmental Design/Architecture while completing the Aerospace Studies program as an AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program) scholarship cadet. She was commissioned as a Distinguished Graduate and 2nd Lieutenant. After Berkeley, she joined the active-duty Air Force and completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base (AFB) in Sacramento. She graduated in the top 15-percent of her class of 25 students as the only woman in the class. She then trained in the KC-135R refueling tanker at Castle AFB in California before reporting into the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.

Veteran U.S. Marine Capt. Vernice Armour
Vernice Armour was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on December 12, 1998. When she earned her wings in July 2001, Armour ranked Number One out of both her class of 12 and of the last 200 to graduate. She made the Naval Air Station’s prestigious Commodore’s List, received the Academic Achievement Award, was the top graduate in her class, and went on to make history as the Marine Corps’ first African American female pilot.


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