Fiona Akoth is from Kisumu County and first joined the Colombia Airforce Base in 2017 as a 14th Student Squadron Student Pilot. The Colombia Air Force Base is located in Mississippi.
Akoth has always wanted to be a pilot and to be a pilot is the world’s most powerful military is something she never imagined would happen. She spent her younger years in Kisumu with her grandparents while her mother attended college in the U.S. She moved to the U.S. at 13 years old, and attended middle school in Texas.
”I knew there was no way my parents could afford college so I had to apply for a lot of scholarships,” Akoth said.
She browsed through many colleges in the U.S., including the U.S. Naval Academy, but the Air Force Academy was the one she chose.
Akoth said she joined to give back to a country that has allowed her to prosper and also for the challenge. Even though at first her family was wary about her joining, they soon realized how much the Air Force has done for Akoth.
Close to her home in Kenya there was an airport where her and her friends would sit and watch the planes fly every day. It was this moment when she realized that she wanted to be a pilot.
Akoth graduated from the Air Force Academy and is now in the 14th Student Squadron, training to be an Air Force pilot at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.
“It has been my destiny to become a pilot,” Akoth said. “My grandfather always told me to never give up on my dream and now here I am.”
Prior to her training, Akoth was chosen to be part of the Language Enabled Airman Program because she is fluent in Swahili. LEAP allows Airmen who can speak another language fluently to translate and help build community relations with local populations near military instillations.
“It was a unique experience,” Akoth said. “I got to go back to Africa and help the Air Force communicate with my people.”
Akoth said she strives to be a role model for all the young women in her hometown and anyone who has a dream. She has put in the extra work and dedication and now she is living her dream.