Nicole M. E. Malachowski
|Born||September 26, 1974|
|Years of service||1996 to 2017|
|Commands held||333d Fighter Squadron|
|Battles/wars||Operation Iraqi Freedom|
Nicole Margaret Ellingwood Malachowski(born September 26, 1974) is a retired United States Air Force officer and the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds.
Malachowski was a Civil Air Patrol cadet before she entered the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation in 1996. Her first public performance with the Thunderbirds was in March 2006, and her aviator call sign was "FiFi".She spent the 2006 and 2007 air show seasons flying the Number 3 (Right Wing) aircraft in the diamond formation. Between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, Malachowski was on special assignment, participating in the White House Fellows Program for the Class of 2008–2009, assigned to the General Services Administration. In 2011, she took command of the 333d Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. In September 2015, she returned to the White House to become the executive director of its Joining Forces initiative for supporting veterans, service members, and military families. She retired from the Air Force in 2017 after attaining the rank of colonel.
Nicole Malachowski was born Nicole Ellingwood in Santa Maria, California, to Cathy and Robert Ellingwood.In high school, she was a cadet member of the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and participated in AFJROTC, where she was rated cadet colonel, the highest rank a cadet could achieve. She started working on her pilot's license before graduating from high school. She graduated from Western High School in Las Vegas in 1992.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management, with a minor in French,from the United States Air Force Academy, graduating 124th of 922 in the Class of 1996. While at the academy she was both a pilot and cadet instructor pilot in the academy's TG-4 glider program. She also earned a Master of Arts degree from American Military University in National Security Policy, and a second in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, where she graduated with highest distinction.
Malachowski is married to Lieutenant Colonel Paul G. Malachowski (USAF, retired), a former F-15E Weapons System Operator. The couple met while both were serving as aircrew in the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom.In April 2010 she was admitted to the Mother and Infant Care Center (MICC) of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in expectation of the birth of twins. After a confinement of nine weeks, she gave birth to daughter Norah and son Garrick on June 6, 2010.
Malachowski attended undergraduate pilot training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi. She finished fourth in her class and selected the only F-15E Strike Eagle slot allotted to her class. After meeting height requirements for fighter pilots,she trained at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, with the 4th Fighter Wing.
She served two operational tours at RAF Lakenheath, England, with the 48th Fighter Wing; assignment to the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB; and as an Air Liaison Officer supporting the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea. During her second tour at RAF Lakenheath, Malachowski deployed for four months in early 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, flying 26 combat missions. She applied and was accepted as a Thunderbird pilot in June 2005. She completed transition training to the F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona and flew with the Thunderbird Team based at Nellis AFB, Nevada in November 2005 until November 2007.
After successfully completing her tour with the USAF Thunderbirds in November 2007, including approximately 140 performances, Malachowski served on staff of the Commander, United States Air Force Warfare Center, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to June 2008.
Malachowski was selected to participate as a White House Fellow in Washington, D.C., from September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009, working in the General Services Administration with the Presidential Transition Support Team and as deputy chief of staff.Malachowski has been an advocate of recognition as veterans of women pilots who served during World War II. On July 1, 2009, she participated in a White House ceremony at which legislation (S.614) awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to former pilots of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Although she had to use a wheelchair due to a broken left leg, Lt Col Malachowski delivered remarks during the ceremony held March 10, 2010, in the United States Capitol awarding Deanie Bishop Parrish the medal on behalf of all 1,102 WASP pilots.
Malachowski served as deputy commander of the 4th Operations Support Squadron, 4th Operations Group, until November 18, 2011, when she took command of the 333d Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
She completed her assignment with the 333d in May, 2013 and reported to the Naval War College in Newport, RI as a student.
Col. Malachowski medically retired after serving 21 years because she contracted a tick-borne illness.
Nicole Malachowski's ribbons as of August 1, 2009:
|Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with silver oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Organizational Excellence Award|
|Combat Readiness Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal|
|Kosovo Campaign Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Medal|
|Korea Defense Service Medal|
|Air and Space Campaign Medal|
|Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon|
|Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with three bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Training Ribbon|
|Lieutenant Colonel||January 2010|
|Major||April 1, 2006|
|Captain||May 29, 2000|
|First Lieutenant||May 29, 1998|
|Second Lieutenant||May 29, 1996|
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