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"I wanted to fly helicopters." (Audio interview, 1:46)

   Lee Ingrid Papanek Lane
Image of Lee Ingrid Papanek Lane
Lee Lane in uniform, sitting inside doorway of a helicopter [October 2004]
War: Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present
Branch: Army
Unit: Illinois Army National Guard
Service Location: Chicago, Illinois; Balad, Iraq
Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 2
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A lifelong adventurer, Lee Lane joined the military to become a helicopter pilot. The first female helicopter pilot in her Illinois National Guard unit, she spent her time overseas zooming across the Iraqi countryside, 50 feet above the ground. Unlike many soldiers in Iraq who were stationed only in one or two locations, her role as a pilot afforded her a unique, ever-changing view of the country’s varied terrain and diverse population.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview  (40 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album (27 photos)
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»Women of Four Wars
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Most memorable experiences; concentration of focus and effort required; experience of flying in the desert; making up small packages of candy and presents to drop to civilians; surprised by landscape in Iraq; getting to see rivers, snow, and vegetation in addition to desert and camels. (05:16) Experiences serving with National Guard members, who possessed a variety of life and job skills. (01:31) Thoughts on media portrayal of the war in Iraq; experience with Iraqi civilians very appreciative of the American presence; getting to see a lot of the positive aspects of the American occupation. (01:58)
Spending 10 years with the same Illinois National Guard unit; standing out in the crowd as the first female helicopter pilot; the close relationships that developed between members of her unit. (01:26)  
  
 
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  October 26, 2011
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