An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

380AEW Article

Maj. Katia Pillot: Grit and grins

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Alexandra Smith
  • 380 Air Expeditionary Wing

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — For Maj. Katia Pillot, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron director of operations, 2022 was non-stop. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Pillot came to Al Dhafra Air Base after serving as a detachment commander for Det. 1, 725th Air Mobility Squadron at Morón Air Base, Spain. Due to her actions in both duty stations, Pillot has been named the Logistics Readiness Officer of the Year in the Field Grade Officer category for both Air Combat Command and Air Forces Central Command.

While growing up in Texas, Pillot remembered the examples her parents set. “My father was in the Army; he was a Green Beret, and his mindset was ‘no matter what you have to get through, you’re going to find a way to handle it.’ And so from him, I learned about persistence and hard work… Whatever I want in life, if I keep working towards it, I can achieve it.”

This ethic of tenacity and resilience was reinforced by both of her parents and family from Puerto Rico.

“My mother, raising my brother and myself while my father was deployed (which was often), was working full time and trying to raise us. They both worked so hard to make sure that my brother and I could have at least the opportunity to have a good life. Ultimately, that falls back on us as to whether we were going to take that opportunity and run with it.”

Pillot excelled throughout her military career, which started when she enlisted in 2010 for four years. “I decided I needed a different type of challenge… I knew after my first year that I wanted to go the O [officer] route.”
That isn’t to say that the path was without hardship. One event Pillot recalled that sparked her to become an officer happened during her first year on active duty.

“I enlisted during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was an A1C at the time, my supervisor was a staff sergeant, and I remember her saying some comments out loud in front of a shop of ten, speaking using terminology like ‘f****t.’ I was put in a hard place, because I wanted to confront her about using that word, but DADT hadn’t been repealed yet. I couldn’t explain that this term was offensive to me. Then, I started thinking, ‘I want to have a bigger influence on this Air Force culture.’ There are lots of ways to go about having that impact, but as an officer, we have a lot more influence from the get-go. That initiated the thought process for me to go the O-route.”

Since commissioning, Pillot often found that she was the sole woman in the room. “It’s very important that we have that voice for females, and for myself, female minorities. Younger, junior Airmen, they can raise their voices, but it doesn’t carry as far. We have that responsibility to be aware of those things that other people aren’t thinking about and voicing it. Those in the majority, they don’t have ill intent, but they just don’t know what they don’t know.”

In the face of the win, Pillot also attributes her accomplishments to her Airmen.

First and foremost, Pillot sees her duty as taking care of Airmen, who will be able to accomplish any mission assigned them. When asked what she’s most proud of in the last year (during which she also made and pinned on major), Pillot said she was proud of “the efficiency, professionalism and hard work the 380 ELRS Airmen provided supporting the Pakistani humanitarian mission in September. I am honored to work alongside amazing Airmen day in and day out and proud to call myself a logistician. The team cross-loaded 31 trucks, transporting 693 tons of relief cargo, while providing 24-hour Cargo Deployment Function operations handling the reception, build-up and upload of 195 pallets of assistance onto 14 aircraft in six days, aiding 33 million Pakistanis in need.”

Also over the past year, as the Det. 1 Commander, Pillot was in command as the senior ranking officer for Air Mobility Command while directing air mobility activities at Morón Air Base, Spain, when she led the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of 214 personnel to support four KC-46 aircraft in the platform’s first ever employment concept exercise, which tested aircraft capabilities and culminated in the first ever KC-46 refueling of an international aircraft.

Though these two events specifically stood out, the everyday work of within the realm of logistics ignites Pillot’s passion. “Within me, I feel this fire; I love what I do, and I just want to get at it.”