S. Korea’s 19th female F-16 pilot dreams big

November 25, 2015
Air Force First Lt. Jin Seo-young (Courtesy of Air Force)

Air Force First Lt. Jin Seo-young (Courtesy of Air Force)

By Kang Seung-woo

Air Force First Lt. Jin Seo-young of the 20th Fighter Wing is the nation’s 19th female F-16 fighter pilot.

What makes the 25-year-old Jin special is that her mother and sister, who are retired soldiers, inspired her to become a pilot.

Her mother, Park Kyung-ja, is a retired Army staff sergeant who worked at the 2nd Operations Command in Daegu until 1984, and her sister, Jin Yoo-young, is a retired Army captain.

“I appreciate all the attention I’m getting because I come from a military family, but I have set my sights on fulfilling my duties as a fighter pilot regardless of that,” said Jin, who is now undergoing combat readiness training.

“I am working hard to be the best F-16 pilot I can be.”

Jin said her decision to join the military was influenced by her mother’s career.

“When I was young, my mother often told me about the military and it led me to long to become a soldier,” she said.

“Although there are differences from what I imagined, I have no regrets.”

Jin stood out while at the Air Force Academy (AFA).

She won first prizes at the collegiate forum on national security and at the National Model U.N. Conference, while completing flight training with high marks.

Fascinated by the single-seat F-16, Jin had hopes of becoming a pilot when she was a cadet at the AFA.

“Although the road to becoming a pilot was bumpy, I overcame the difficulties with my fellow student pilots. I am pleased that I became an F-16 pilot,” she said.

“Committed to the goal that I had from the beginning, I will do my best in defending the nation’s airspace.”

Her mother said, “I am proud of my daughter for achieving her dream. I am concerned about her because of the risks of her duties, but I firmly believe that she will do well.”

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