Air Force Reservist from Italy finds her passion in aviation as a pilot, flight attendant and MBA graduate student

  • Published
  • By Maj. Neil Samson
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

There are many reasons for why Airmen join the military.  Some want to follow in the footsteps of their family, travel the world, or earn education benefits. 

One Air Force Reserve flight attendant had other motivations, which began after earning her private pilot’s license at the age of 18 in Italy.

Staff Sgt. Carola Anselmi, 73rd Airlift Squadron flight attendant, a native of a town called Catania, in Sicily, Italy, immigrated to the U.S.  After immigrating, she later joined the Air Force to further her aviation career, but then transferred to the AF Reserves to become a flight attendant.

Though Anselmi had a strong background in aviation and aeronautical engineering at the time she enlisted, she was placed in the bioenvironmental engineering career field.

“Previously, as an active duty member, I was ready to cross-train into a career field that completed me, and when I saw the opening for a flight attendant position in the Reserves, I knew I had to take it,” said Anselmi. “I wanted to do something I was passionate about and the job inspired me to move to the Reserve component.”

Anselmi is no stranger to aviation.  She graduated from Arturo Ferrarin High School in Italy, where she studied aeronautical engineering and for her private pilot’s license.

Her strong educational background led to two private pilot’s licenses in two countries—her first pilot license in Italy and her second license in the United States.

“I obtained my first private pilot’s license in Italy, on a Tecnam P2002 ultralight aircraft, when I was 18,” said Anselmi. “During my last year of high school, I won a scholarship which paid for my license.”

 “However, when I came to the United States to continue to fly, I was told by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) that the standards followed in Italy were not observed by the U.S.,” she said. “Therefore, I started over with an American Certified Flight Instructor and obtained my U.S. private pilot’s license on a Cessna 172.

Though Anselmi possesses her private pilot’s license in two countries, she focuses on her primary career as a 73rd AS flight attendant.

“I provide for passenger’s safety and comfort during aircraft operations, perform loading and off-loading of passengers and baggage, ensure access to escape exits, and perform pre-flight, thru-flight, and post-flight inspections of aircraft emergency, cabin and galley equipment,” Anselmi said. “Additionally, we fly distinguished visitors which requires us to prepare and cook meals in flight, therefore, we need basic and intermediate knowledge of food safety and handling.”

Anselmi says the most favorite part of her job is flying and accomplishing the mission.  She also enjoys traveling the world and serving distinguished visitors.

Outside of her career as a flight attendant and her passion as a civilian pilot, she is finishing her Masters of Business Administration in Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with only two courses left.

“Flying is my passion, therefore my job translates very well with what I studied in school.  I feel like my life has finally come together,” she said.

Prior to pursuing an MBA in aviation, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and with a double minor in Airport Safety and Management. 

With a robust background aeronautics, Anselmi sees herself in an Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) position or as a civilian flight attendant in the future.

Anselmi’s 73rd AS leadership recognized her accomplishments both as a civilian pilot, aviation graduate student and military flight attendant. 

“There is no doubt in my mind that Staff Sgt. Carola Anselmi has the most diverse aviation background of any flight attendant in the 73rd AS and embodies the whole Airmen concept,” said Lt Col Brandon Lorton, 73rd Airlift Squadron commander. “The 932nd Airlift Wing and our squadron immediately recognized her passion for aviation.  The AF Reserves reap the benefits of Carola’s dedication to her career, her steadfast commitment to furthering her education and her vast experience in aeronautics.”