Philippine Air Force 2nd Lt. Catherine Mae Emeterio Gonzales is training in the United States under the Aviation Leadership Program (ALP) – the first female military pilot to be awarded the scholarship.
Gonzales is attending the program from February 2018 to May 2019 under the ALP.
She is one of the 8 women in the Top 10 of the Philippine Military Academy Salaknib Class of 2017.
The female aviator will receive 164 hours of flight training in the T-6A Texan II aircraft, as well as 239 hours of flight operations ground training, according to the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.
Gonzales says she was inspired to become a pilot after witnessing the role of the air force during the 2013 Zamboanga Siege, her hometown.
Gonzales was originally from Pagadian City but her family transferred to Zamboanga City when she started studying at the Western Mindanao State University.
“Since then, I started to dream of becoming a pilot. During those times, I really felt a great eagerness to defend my hometown, and I thought I could be of great help to that mission from above, since insurgents are vulnerable from this point,” Gonzales shares.
Gonzales adds, “Serving my country as a female officer shows how the military profession has matured and opened for great changes by allowing us, female officers, to lead.”
Gonzales is going to be part of the ALP which is designed to build relationships between future leaders of the United States Air Force and other participating air forces, as well as increase overall cooperation and partnership between countries