Carol Anne Timmons (1958-2020) was the perfect model for young women who want a dream fulfilled. Since childhood, she wanted to fly jets. Following graduation from New Castle’s William Penn High in 1976, she enlisted in the Delaware Air National Guard (DANG). But the military wasn't sure women should fly in combat, so she switched to the Delaware Army National Guard to fly helicopters. Meanwhile, she earned a B.A. in aviation management at Wilmington College.
Determined to fly jets, Lt. Timmons transferred to the Air Force Reserve where she could fly non-combat missions on C-141 transports. During "Desert Storm" (1990-1991) then-Capt. Timmons flew in combat support operations in and out of Southwest Asia.
When the Air Force allowed women to fly combat, Timmons returned to DANG and began flying C-130s. The unit’s first female pilot, she flew in support of Bosnia, Kosovo and other global operations. In 2003 her unit was activated for "Operation Iraqi Freedom." She flew as an aircraft commander, accumulating more than 400 hours of combat time, including service as a squadron commander responsible for 14 C-130s, 28 crews and some 200 ground personnel.
In November 2005, after 32 months of activation, Lt. Col. Timmons returned to her civilian job as a first officer flying jets for United Airlines. In April 2007, she was promoted to full colonel and appointed commander of DANG's 166th Operations Group.
During 30 years in the military, Timmons hurdled every gender-based obstacle confronted. "The successful service of female aircrew members has disproved the myth that women could not perform in the combat mission arena," she said.
The New Castle native flew over 5,000 military hours and 9,000 civilian hours.