First African American Female Pilot

Chief Warrant Officer Three (CW3) Ife Caldwell:

CW3 Caldwell was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas and graduated from North Little Rock High School West Campus in 1995. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

CW3 Caldwell joined the U.S. Army in 1995 after graduating high school, beginning her Army career as a Dental Hygienist (91EX2). In 2003, she got accepted into flight school through the Warrant Officer Candidate program. CW3 Caldwell began her aviation career as an OH-58D Scout Helicopter Pilot. She completed a combat tour in Iraq in 2005 with the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment (4/3ACR) before moving to Fort Polk, Louisiana where she flew a different kind of mission that prepared her for the civilian occupation she holds today.

In 2010, CW3 Caldwell separated from active duty and moved from the Army National Guard to U.S. Army Reserves in support of her then spouse’s continued Army career. Each move provided her an opportunity to fly a different airframe. She landed a place in the 5-159th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) in Fort Eustis, Virginia., flying CH47 Chinooks before eventually returning to her hometown, North Little Rock.

On July 14, 2015, CW3 Caldwell joined Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1/114th Aviation S & S Battalion, 77th Aviation Brigade, Arkansas Army National Guard. CW3 Caldwell was first African American female UH60, Black Hawk Pilot in the Arkansas Army National Guard.

As a member of the 77th Aviation Brigade, CW3 Caldwell also completed assignments in B Company, 2-285th Aviation Regiment, Co A (-), 2-149th Aviation Regiment, HHC, 77th Aviation Brigade Headquarters, and Detachment 1, G Company, 1-168th GSAB. On August 17, 2016, CW3 Caldwell deployed with the 77th Aviation Brigade to Kuwait.

CW3 Ife Caldwell retired from the Arkansas Army National Guard in 2018 after 23 years of military service but continues to serve her community as a helicopter EMS pilot for Air Evac Lifeteam in Greenville, Mississippi.

For her outstanding military service, CW3 Ife Caldwell earned numerous awards, accolades, and citations throughout her career to include the Meritorious Service Medal.