Air Force Reservist flight attendant to pilot, a dream come true!

  • Published
  • By SSgt. Brooke Spenner

For Tech. Sgt. Carola Anselmi, becoming a pilot was always a dream, an ambition that she achieved in her home country of Italy and the United States. However, little did she know that her dreams of flight weren't finished yet.

“Since I was about 16 years old, my heart has belonged to the sky,” Anselmi said. “My dream was to become a pilot, but I didn’t know I wanted to pursue this dream through the U.S. Air Force until I enlisted.”

Anselmi has been in the Air Force for seven and half years. She enlisted in the military and became a bioenvironmental engineer for six years. She then trained as a flight attendant and has served for the last one and half years in the 73rd Airlift Squadron.

“I completed the American version of my Private Pilot License while serving as a Bioenvironmental Engineer. After completing my PPL, I tried everything to get into all the flying programs that the Air Force offered. Yet, for years, I was never accepted.  I was emotionally exhausted and felt demotivated for a couple of years. After all, flying was the reason why I moved to the U.S., but no program seemed to be interested in me.”

 In the meantime, the Air Force provided her with other opportunities. While serving in the 73rd AS, she completed her Master of Business Administration in Aviation, using her GI Bill to cover the cost. After which she began to dream of becoming an Air Force pilot.

“I met and spoke to many inspiring pilots who kept telling me ‘if this is really what you want, do not give up’ or ‘it took me many tries before it finally worked out, but in the end, I made it, and so can you,’” Anselmi recalled. “I found the inspiration to try again because of those individuals.”

With the help of four amazing 73rd AS pilots as mentors, Anselmi began the process once again to become a pilot. She contacted the Air National Guard recruiter and wrote her package, which took about one and half months.

“After about three weeks, I was surprised to see that the review board had sent me an email, which invited me to an in-person interview,” Anselmi said. “I could not believe what was in front of my eyes. I prepared for the interview with some of the pilots at the 73rd, who kindly orchestrated a mock interview for me. I went to the interview, and two weeks later, I was told that I was being offered one of their C-130 pilot positions--I cried.

 Anselmi will soon join the Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing as a C-130 Hercules pilot. She explained that when researching the different aircraft in the ANG and AFRC, the C-130H stood out the most because of its vast mission capabilities, i.e., humanitarian and medical missions, and offers aerial operation support.

“The C-130 made an impression on me,” Anselmi explained. “It is a versatile aircraft that can operate on almost any surface.”


Like her mentors, Anselmi wanted to share inspiration with those Airmen who dream of becoming pilots.

“This process can seem scary and complex, especially at the beginning,” Anselmi said. However, if you speak openly about your desire to become a pilot—to your leadership, friends, colleagues, and anyone willing to listen--you will be amazed at how many mentors will step up and volunteer to help you succeed."

Stay focused on your goal and make it happen. I would also suggest pursuing your PPL and college degree sooner rather than later. And, lastly, do not give up—you’ve got this!”

 When asked what she would miss most about the 932nd, Anselmi noted it would be the people.

“When I moved to Scott Air Force Base and joined the 932nd, I was expecting to be alone for a while, since I had left my six-year home behind and was starting once more, from scratch,” Anselmi said. “But I was wrong. Not only did I find an amazing job, but most importantly, I found a family and a support system that gifted me with opportunities, experiences, and stories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”