WASP Legacy Pilot
United States Air Force Lt. Col. Cathyrine Armandie is an F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons System Officer or Combat Systems Officer (CSO), which was formerly known as a Navigator. She’s also the Commander of Air Force Recruiting Service, Detachment 1. She was born in Taiwan to American parents and grew up in Hong Kong and Southern California before attending University of California Irvine.
“My sophomore year I joined ROTC and then 9/11 happened,” Armandie recalled. Her family’s strong legacy of military service had always felt like a vocational calling. After 9/11, it was a call she couldn’t pass up. Armandie flew with the Civil Air Patrol – “a great way to explore aviation for a young person, and the most cost effective way”- before commissioning as an Air Force Officer in 2004. She moved to Pensacola, Florida, and attended Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training before eventually moving to England to fly F-15Es. “It used to be easy to describe my job as Goose from Top Gun,” Armandie laughed. “But the lieutenants who come in now have never seen the movie; it’s a different generation.”
She’s accrued more than 1,600 flight hours to include 450 combat hours as a F-15E Weapons Systems Officer on combat missions in Afghanistan. She’s flown in the U.S. Air Force F-15E, F-15D Eagle, T-1A Jayhawk, A/T-38 Talon, T-6 Texan, T-39 and the MiG-21. Her positions have ranged from Flight Commander to political-military strategist. Her newest job is to “encourage kids to go follow their dreams.”
As the AFRS Det. 1 Commander, Armandie is focused on exposing youth to aviation career fields. Last year, they flew 250 kids on C-17s or C-130s. Her detachment, augmented by volunteers from a team of 300 Air Force aviators, is frequently on the road at major aviation and STEM events like OshKosh and OBAP – Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. They’ve worked with Women in Aviation International (WAI), AOPA: your freedom to fly, EAA – The Spirit of Aviation, the Professional Asian Pilots Association (PAPA), the Latino Pilots Association (LPA), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Legacy Flight Academy and more.
Armandie truly understands the value of representation on a personal level. “I had never met a female fighter pilot until I met former Lt. Col. Jeannie Leavitt, who happens to be my boss,” said Armandie. “I was amazed to see someone like me as a lieutenant colonel and a fighter pilot and a mother. Now, she’s a major general and I’m a lieutenant colonel, and a mother with a child and another on the way. It had a huge impact on me. That’s just one example of why representation matters.”
OFFICIAL BIO FROM THE NATIONAL BUSINESS AVIATION ASSOCIATION