Col Nicole Malachowski
First Woman Thunderbird Pilot, Combat Veteran, Fighter Squadron Commander, White House Fellow and Adviser
A 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Colonel Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.) is one of the first women to fly modern fighter aircraft. She achieved the rating of command pilot with over 2,300 flight hours in six different Air Force aircraft and was the first woman to fly on a Department of Defense military jet demonstration team. She served as a mission ready fighter pilot in three operational F-15E fighter squadrons and has flown over 188 combat hours. She was a White House Fellow; served in two high-level staff assignments at the Pentagon; and served as executive director of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, where she directly advised former first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on topics relating to service members, veterans and military families. Colonel Malachowski’s distinguished military career was cut short by a neurological tick-borne illness, and she now educates others about her medical journey.