CAP Cadet Becomes Air Force Trailblazer and Returns to CAP
Lt. Col. Rochelle Kimbrell, CAP (USAF Ret) got her start as a Civil Air Patrol cadet with the Colorado Wing’s Parker Composite Squadron. She received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy and upon graduation proceeded to become the very first Black American female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a trailblazer for generations to come. After twenty-two years of service, she retired from the United States Air Force and then rejoined Civil Air Patrol’s Colorado Wing as a senior member. She is now a Civil Air Patrol Cadet Flight Orientation Pilot helping to train young men and women of all backgrounds to fly. Though Lt. Col. Kimbrell is an inspiration to many of all ages and continues to make a difference in others’ lives, she especially enjoys speaking with young people who may not realize the sky’s the limit until they meet her. She said, "I literally see the lights turn on in kids' eyes when I talk to them as they realize that someone like me can do something as cool as being a fighter pilot. They come to see that they can go out and do whatever they want to do. That’s what I focus on and what I think is really important." CAP can help achieve dreams. Recently, Lt. Col. Kimbrell was asked to take part in the filming of a Discovery Channel’s Curiosity Stream documentary on Bessie Coleman who was an American aviator and the first Black woman to earn a pilot's license. Lt. Col. Kimbrell had a chance to talk about her early interest in aviation and the opportunities provided through her cadet membership in Civil Air Patrol. There’s even footage of her flying a CAP aircraft as an O-Ride pilot teaching a Colorado Wing female cadet how to fly.