Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, joined the United Arab Emirates' air force once the military branch accepted women. She graduated the academy in 2008 and now pilots an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet, likely among those taking part in the air strikes against Islamic State terrorists in Syria.
She’s raining bombs on terrorist thugs.
The first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates' air force is reportedly taking part in the coalition air strikes against ISIS militants hiding in Syria.
Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, is a squadron commander piloting an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet likely among those dropping munitions this week in coordinated attacks against Islamic State strongholds near Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.
Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar also provided support, logistics and aircraft in the strikes against the terrorists.
Al Mansouri, an Abu Dhabi native who holds an undergraduate degree in English literature, was among the first women to join the UAE Air Force academy when it finally allowed female members and she graduated in 2008,The National of UAE reported.
"It was my aspiration,” she told the news outlet. "Ever since I finished high school, I wanted to learn flying because it was something that I liked in the first place.”
The UAE is among the Middle East’s leaders in women’s rights and opportunities, and Mansouri, one of eight children, jumped at the chance to follow her dreams.
“A woman's passion about something will lead her to achieving what she aspires and that's why she should pursue her interests,” she told The National.
Al Mansouri said she worked hard and received no special treatment as a woman making waves in the formerly male-only military branch. In May, the major earned the Pride of the Emirates Medal as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Excellence Awards.
As for other women hoping to take to the air?
“Be prepared as it is a time and effort-consuming field that requires a great deal of passion,” she said.