By Captain Marisa J. King
U.S. Air Force
It all began in Mrs. Hickey’s 2nd grade class.
We learned about space and from then on, I
knew I wanted to do something great. I wanted
to be an astronaut and even if I never made it
into space, I knew that anywhere I landed along
the way, I’d be doing great and honorable things.
Every move since that day was calculated. I
refused to miss a day of school in grade school. I
did the best that I could in every class, striving
for every advanced class that I could put on my
plate. If I struggled, I would fax my mother my
homework to wherever she was that week for work.
Captain King’s combat crew for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
(L-R) Capt. Lance Adsit, Capt. Nicole White, Capt.Joseph Vaca,
Capt. Colter Huyler and Capt. King. 2017.
Once I entered high school I learned about the Air Force and
had fallen in love with the idea of serving my country. While
applying for colleges, the Air Force and Naval Academies, my
mother lost her job. It was a stressful time for us, however, it
turned out to be perfect timing.
While I was preparing for interviews with Senators, she was
preparing for new job interviews. Luckily, my mother found a job
around the same time I received
the news that I was accepted into the
Air Force Academy Preparatory
School. Initially I was heartbroken
that I didn’t make it directly into
the Air Force Academy, but little
did I know, this small bit of
adversity was foreshadowing my
I was rarely able to achieve any
goal I sought after on the first try. I
always had to try a little bit harder
but I never gave up. I finally made
Latina Letters From the Front!
Captain King Flying a WCMD live launch sortie with two Test Pilot
it in to the Air Force Academy where I studied Astronautical
Engineering. This degree proved to be quite difficult, but to
my surprise, I was able to survive. My grades left little to be
desired initially preventing me from receiving my pilot slot.
With time, however, others began to decline their pilot slots
and I was able to receive one prior to graduation. Following
graduation, I proceeded to Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas
and learned how to fly.
It was a struggle at first. My first check ride in every airplane at
pilot training left me with a failure. It was as if I needed this
failure or “hook” in order to excel. Once I got that failure out
of the way, I actually excelled enough to put me on the
fighter/bomber track where I ended up flying the B-52. Still on
track to be an astronaut, I applied to Test Pilot School after
my fifth year in the B-52. Not so surprisingly, I did not make
it in, nor did I make it in the second time I applied. I was
devastated, of course, but when I submitted my second
application, I also submitted one for the Weapons Instructor
Course. For this course, I was accepted. This all brings me to
today. I am a Weapons School graduate and I could not be any
more proud of myself. The Weapons School taught me how
strong I can be. It forced me to be out of my shell and into a
confident aviator and problem solver. I found strength in the
struggle, and even though I may not be an Astronaut, I love
where I am and most importantly who I am today. LS
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B-52 USAF Weapons School graduation.
Captain King and husband
Izaac King at the 49th TES
Centennial Celebration in 2017.
28 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 5, 2018