Lt Col Olga Custodio
USAFR (Ret); American Airlines Captain (Ret)
While studying at the University of Puerto Rico, she tried to participate in the university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program but was denied, as women were not allowed at that time.
But Olga never gave up hope, and she went on to fulfill her dream of becoming a commissioned military officer—and then some.
Olga served for 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Along the way, she received an Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship for her handling of an in-flight emergency. After transitioning to the U.S. Air Force Reserves, Olga became the first Latina commercial airline pilot and later upgraded to Captain, flying for American Airlines.
Today, Olga is retired with over 11,000 flight hours to her name. She works with several nonprofit organizations that advocate for inspiring and empowering students, especially those from underserved communities, to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace.
By pioneering many firsts during her career, Olga has shattered stereotypes and served as a powerful role model to those who aspire to become a pilot. From breaking barriers and overcoming challenges as a woman in a male-dominated profession throughout her career, Olga has gained important life insights and perspectives that she shares with everyone, especially women who are working to achieve their dreams.
Olga lives in San Antonio with her husband of 46 years, Edwin—who is also her best friend, supporter, and advocate for everything she sponsors. They have two children, Marcia and Edwin II, and one grandson, Jedi.