The Marines celebrated their 241st birthday Thursday, and one marine right here in Pensacola is celebrating the end of a history-making era. Captain Katie Higgins, who pilots Fat Albert, is the first ever female pilot to fly for the team. Captain Higgins spoke with us about making the team and how she feels now that her chapter in the history book is ending.
“I think — no matter what your gender is — just to be selected to be a part of this team is an honor,” Captain Katie Higgins said, with a smile on her face.
Captain Higgins holds a high honor. She’s the first female pilot to be a member of the Blue Angels.
“I would hope that I have shown people that there is, in the Marine Corps, seven percent women,” Captain Higgins said of her role of inspiring future military personnel. “In some of the other services, it’s much larger, and women do have these opportunities in the armed services, whether it’s being a pilot or a mechanic or whatever.”
She’s humble about her position, serving as a constant reminder of those who are dedicating their lives to protect America.
“I hope that those who aren’t serving in the military or don’t have that opportunity are reminded that there are women and there are men still serving overseas right now,” Captain Higgins said. “They’re fighting ISIS, they’re standing the watch on the pacific, and this team represents that. We like to show it with our pride and professionalism what those people are doing overseas and to be able to be just a small representative of that is an honor.”
With Fat Albert in depot level maintenance, an ‘Ernie’ C-130 is on loan for the Navy to stand in for logistics. That means Captain Higgins’ last show ever was the Pensacola Beach Show. She knows when she leaves her Blue Angel family, it’ll be different, but she looks forward to seeing a show in the future. Maybe even from her next assignment.
“I know that they’re going to have a great season next year,” Captain Higgins exclaimed. “The new guys coming in are chomping at the bit to start their job and I know they’re going to be awesome. I look forward to seeing them at a show, maybe in North Carolina some day.”
We asked Captain Higgins, ‘If you could, would you rather pilot one of the six jets?’
Her answer: “I wouldn’t trade my C-130 for anything.”
She’s created a path for young women to follow for generations to come.