By Capt. Nadine Wiley De Moura
Warrant Officer Kristina Multani grabs her flight equipment bag from her locker and confidently strides across the flight line to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for her first flight in Kosovo.
Multani, who finished flight school in September as the only female warrant officer Black Hawk pilot in the Delaware Army National Guard, eagerly embraced the opportunity to deploy to Kosovo.
“I definitely hope to learn as much as I can from every aviator here, because I know each one has something to teach me,” Multani said.
“As far as being female, it shouldn’t matter as much. Maybe there aren’t as many of us, but any aviator can do the job.”
Multani attributes her can-do attitude to her parents who emigrated to the United States from Ukraine when she was a baby.
“I know what my family has gone through, as immigrants, adjusting to language, culture and it showed me how to work hard towards something,” Multani said.
“I wanted to join the Army out of high school, but after I built a family and had a daughter, I thought it was too late. Over the years, it kept nagging me as something that I wanted to do.”
“I got to a point that I realized if I don’t do this now, I will regret it for the rest of my life,” said the Tome high school alumna.
Multani originally enlisted as a 92A automated logistics specialist in 2017 but said several warrant officers mentored her and encouraged her to become a pilot following basic training.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jay Falkenburg, a senior instructor pilot, was one of several warrant officers who empowered Multani to fly.
Now, as a warrant officer herself, Multani serves as a technical expert and advisor to the command for all aspects of aviation.
“Diversity is critical as it brings different perspectives and life experiences,” Falkenburg said. “She is a good fit for the organization and already integrates well with other pilots.”
For her first deployment, Multani plans to build on everything that she has learned and attributes her drive to succeed to her daughter.
“I want to set my daughter up for success and ensure she doesn’t have to experience the same struggles that I did,” Multani said.
“I want to set her up with college, give her ideas and things that she could possibly pursue in her future.”
As for serving on a deployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Multani maintains her resilient outlook on life.
“I don’t let the little things get to me, I focus on the bigger things,” Multani said. “I’ve always enjoyed structure and am absolutely blessed and thrilled to be here.”
Multani is part of the 28th rotation of the U.S. brigade-led Kosovo Forces Regional-Command East mission.
“It is beautiful here and I am looking forward to the diversity and opportunity to work with all of our NATO partners from different countries,” Multani said.
“When I think about aviation, I want more people like me from different nationalities and women. I love diversity.”
-This article was originally published on Army.mil. It has been edited for USO.org.
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