Thunderbirds Alumna Paves The Way For Other Women | Texas Public Radio

Thunderbirds Alumna Paves The Way For Other Women

Jul 13, 2018

As a 1990 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Anne Krause always looked up to women who graduated during the 1980s. Even though she felt a sense of resentment from her male peers during her own time at the academy, she knew that those women had a harder road than she did and that they paved the way for women in the Air Force.


Anytime Krause met a woman from that era, she would always stop to thank her. Krause recalled saying, “Thank you for paving the way for me. … I know you helped make that possible."

It wasn’t until Anne was out of the military herself that she realized her own impact.

“I was never the first at anything,” Krause said. “I never really felt like I was doing anything special.”

Krause said her last assignment in the military was as an executive officer for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team.

“It was a magnificent experience for me, and I was the only female officer on the team. A couple of years ago, I wanted to take my sons to an air show. My husband was one of the Thunderbirds pilots — that's where we met."

After feeling nostalgic from standing on the showline, she asked someone, "Can you please help me find number 10? … I am an alumna of the Thunderbirds team."

The new female executive officer came up to Krause and said, "thank you for paving the way for me."

Up until that point, Krause never thought that she paved the way for anybody.

Recorded on Feb. 6, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas.

[transcript below]

Anne Krause: I felt as a woman, that it wasn't necessarily an inviting environment but it was also hard for everybody. It was a tough environment but again, they tell us all the time, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.”

Andrea 'Andi' Rodriguez: Did you ever feel, again with a very male-heavy population, that you were put in some situations that might have been first or that you were paving the way perhaps for other women?

Anne: I was never the first at anything Andi, and so I never really felt like I was doing anything special. As a 1990 graduate of the Air Force Academy, I always looked up to women who graduated in the 80s. Because I knew they had it so hard, and much harder than I did or my classmates for that matter. Anytime I would meet a woman from that era, I always thanked her. I said, "thank you for paving the way for me while it wasn't a lot of fun, it is a great place to be from and I know you helped make that possible."

I always felt good about saying that because I really believed it, and I knew that I probably wouldn't have done as well, I might not have graduated. I might have dropped out so it was a special breed of person who paved the way. Becuase I wasn't the first person to go to pilot training, I wasn't in the first female class from the Academy, I never really felt like I was adding anything. I was just helping to move the wave along. It really didn't dawn on me until I was out of the military - and I will tell you a little story. 

My last assignment in the military, I was the Executive Officer for the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Team. It was a magnificent experience for me, and I was the only female officer on the team. A couple of years ago, I wanted to take my sons to an air show. My husband was one of the Thunderbirds pilots, that's where we met, we thought it would be fun to take them to an air show here in San Antonio and watch the Thunderbirds and say "that's what Dad used to do, that's what mom used to do." I was feeling nostalgic and I was on the showline and I asked someone "can you please help me find number 10?" Number 10 was my number on the Thunderbirds so they called me "10" which was kind of awesome for a woman. 

I said, "I am an alumna of the Thunderbirds team and I would love to meet her." She was so gracious, and she looked beautiful and so professional - and I was like "well I hope I did that." She came up to meet me and the first thing she said was "thank you for paving the way for me," and it really got me because I never thought that I paved the way for anybody.