A woman who was rescued from the Superdome by a helicopter during Hurricane Katrina has gone on to become the Louisiana Army National Guard’s first Black female pilot.
Warrant Officer Tatiana Julien of New Orleans flies a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in B Company, 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, which is based in Hammond.
“I feel like I now have a responsibility to let young females know that aviation is an option for them even though it is a male-dominated field,” she said. “There aren’t many women, and even fewer Black women, in aviation, both in the military and on the civilian side.”
She said she had no idea she’d be a trailblazer when she asked for the training.
“It feels surreal,” she said.
The Louisiana Army National Guard’s 115 or so helicopter pilots include six African Americans, three other minorities and five women, including Julien, said Sgt. Dennis Ricou, a guard spokesman.
‘Spark an interest’
Julien decided to become a pilot after seeing a Black pilot from New Orleans in her unit while it was deployed to the Middle East from 2017 to 2018. That pilot became her mentor.
“We often don’t realize what kind of impact we have on other people’s lives. Simply seeing someone doing their job is enough to spark an interest,” Julien said.
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