MANILA, Philippines – In the intense field of military pilots where male rules preeminence, a valiant 33-year-old Filipino lady descent, beat the chances to turn into the first Filipina to fly the supersonic F-16 fighting Falcon fighter jet that carried combat missions in Iraq as an individual from the United States Air Force (USAF).

F16Taxying
F-16 Fighter Jet Taxying

The F-16 Fighting Falcon or most commonly known as the “Viper” is a state-of-the- art fighter aircraft. It has been a high-performance weapon system for the US and allied nations for it has been used in numerous air-to-air combats. This specific aircraft has exceeded all the potential threat fighter air crafts. Its feature as an offense-defense weapon is very precise that it can perform on any weather condition. This kind of plane is a complicated device meant to be handled by highly qualified pilots. The F-16 or the Viper has played vital roles in most of America ’s wars with the most recent being in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. An F-16 fighter plane is what Monessa Catuncan navigates.

The F-16 or the Viper has played vital roles in most of America’s wars with the most recent being in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This kind of plane is a complicated device meant to be handled by highly qualified pilots and this type of fighter aircraft is what Monessa Catuncan navigates.

Capt. Monessa Catuncan was highlighted by the Asian Journal for her exceptional accomplishments as a pilot of an F-16 fighter jet. She is the youngest daughter of Filipino immigrants Mr. & Mrs. Ramon Catuncan, formerly lives in Pasay City and Olongapo City but now situated in Mesquite, Texas.

MonessaCatuncan F16 fighter pilotBut before Monessa even set foot to the elite US Air Force, this humble Pinay, like almost everybody else earned her way to success.

“I think I want to be an astronaut,” her father Ramon Catuncan recalled her saying after she saw “Armageddon” while a sophomore at the Mesquite High School.

“I told her it would require a lot of hard work to realize her ambition but she told me that would not deter her,” he said.

He said her daughter’s favorite foods are adobo, afritada, and kare-kare.

Indeed, even in her initial years in school, Monessa exceeded expectations in scholastics, graduating valedictorian in a class of 693 at Mesquite High School in Texas in 2000.

Catuncan said that while his daughter was still in high school she caught the attention of the Coast Guard, who invited her in 1999 to Connecticut to interest her in becoming a Coast Guard helicopter pilot.

Monessa went to Connecticut for about two weeks to check out the Coast Guard but in the end, she said she was not interested in flying helicopters. She wanted to be a fixed wing pilot.

After graduating at the top of her high school class in Dallas County, Texas, Monessa enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs and majored in aeronautical engineering.

Like all of her colleagues, Monessa went through an Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) before becoming a fighter pilot. However, she didn’t just pass her UPT – she excelled in it.

That same year. While at the academy, Monessa, aside from pursuing her desired career as part of the US Air Force, served as a Squadron Commander, a Division-1 tennis player, a Glider Instructor Pilot, and a member of the Glider Acrobatic Team, among other essential positions. In 2004, Monessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from USAFA.

Monessa proved herself and finished the course as one of the top student pilots in her class. She was then chosen to fly either a fighter or a bomber aircraft. After her course at Moody Air Force, she went to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas and Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls to fly the T-38.

In her training there, Monessa learned the basics of formation flying, offensive and defensive fighter maneuvering, and surface attack bombing techniques. Monessa went through intense studying and was put in a variety of stressful situations in order to pass this training.

From flying T- 38, she had an option of choosing from different aircraft like the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog, B-52 Stratofortress, and F/A-22 Raptor, and T-6 or T-38 are also options. After her T-38 course, Monessa requested to fly an F-16 Falcon, and she got what she wanted.

Monessa went through with her training to hone her skill at maneuvering fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona where she learned how to control and apply tactics of the F-16 Fighter Falcon. Monessa finished her course at Luke Air Force Base with flying colors and was part of the “Lucky number 13” graduate from class 2007. She was the only woman in her group, not to mention the only Filipino to pass the much-coveted pilot course.

She was commissioned as a USAF second lieutenant in 2004 and after training as an F-16 jet pilot was sent to Iraq with the 34th Fighter Squadron to support US ground troops in close air support missions.

Early this year she was promoted to captain and assigned at Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Salt Lake City, Utah.

As the first Filipina descent to fly the F-16, Capt. Catuncan “also carries the Philippine flag in her heart and the pride of the country it represents and the people in it.”

The US Air Force is an elite organization, to handle and piloting an F-16 fighter plane is a prized possession. Monessa, through her perseverance and hard work, has earned not only the fly the F-16 but also the pride and honor of defending the United States, as well as making the Filipinos proud. – Jason E. 

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302 COMMENTS

  1. I and the Filipino people are very proud of you. FLY HIGH CAPT MONESSA CATUNCAN of US AIR FORCE. BE MY LADY.

  2. What’s the flag behind her in the photo? Because I didn’t see her having the Philippine flag with her. you people should stop basing nationality on ethnicity. She’s American through and through.

      • Bakit? Hindi ba pwedeng mag dual?. Kaya nga may Dual Citizenship eh. Di ba? Hindi porke American of Filipino descent at American Citizen ka ay hindi ka na pwedeng mag pa dual? Kaya nga pwedeng mag apply ng Dual Citizenship eh?.. lalo na your roots are from that country Philippines di ba? It is not a big deal. It is case by case po Mr SunTzu. 🙂 Thank you.

        • she’s american ,America is their home now they chose that…bakit pinagpipilitan n Filipino sya when she already give up being a Filipino,stop claiming on something we don’t have the right….

        • If you are in the US military, you are not allowed to have dual citizenship. You need to give up the other nationality if you want to be in the military. She is of filipino heritage but she is an american in heart, in words and in deeds. I don’t even think she speaks filipino. She is a filipino because her parents are filipinos but she is a naturally born american citizen… stop claiming her to be one of us like monkeys are to humans.

          • I gave up my dual citizenship when I joined the AF. Born in PI. Naturalized at 16 yrs old. Dad is retired navy and I’m retired Af. I represent being an American more than a Filipino because of that Filipino mentality.

      • American citizen of Filipino descent meaning she is an American. She got her education and training in the United States. She should be proud of heritage, which she is, but she’s proud of being American. Pinoys have this attitude of saying they are proud to be pinoy because a pinoy accomplished something great in the United States. DO NOT RIDE A PINOY’S SUCESS BECAUSE THE PERSON IS A PINOY. This woman worked extremely hard to reach where she is not, and it has absolutely nothing to do with her being a pinoy. This is an INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS.

        I am PROUD OF HER but I would say that I am proud to be a pinoy because of her success.. because I my being a pinoy has nothing to do with her success. It is through her individual accomplishment and the educate and training that she received from the U.S. which, in truth, she would have not received had she was educated and trained in the Philippines.
        Ugh Some people don’t even think before they speak, and logic is not in their vocabulary.

        • Don’t be a moron. It also is a phrase used in Filipino culture that tells other Filipinos to emulate a role model. So, if your culture is so literal, it is not the Filipinos’ fault, You are just ignorant.

          • Whoa, are you serious? I am a Filipino who happens to be an American Citizen. Do I refer myself as an American? Yes, citizenship wise but I am a Filipino Get it? How’s your reading comprehension doing?

        • uhm i think there is NO mentioning in the article saying im proud to be a pinoy because of her success or accomplishments. It say Filipino proud or making the Filipino proud. Your fingers (in computer lingo represent as your mouth) is faster than your thoughts rapeculturemyth. One to talk of logic.

        • I hate to be disrespectful to a fellow Filipino but either you have stayed away from our country far to long or you don’t even have a clue what a real Filipino is all about to start with.
          First of all, your correcting this people who are saying she is Filipina . Yes, I understand, she is an American Citizen. When did the article ever claim her to be a Filipino Citizen? Not once. The article is also not encouraging people to just jump on the bandwagon of her success. It’s purpose, is to inspire and show the Filipinos that if you work hard for your dreams, you have a decent chance of achieving it.

    • I agree! She’s an American with Filipino heritage, just like my children serving in the US Marine Corps. They carry the American flag and they serve the American flag, even if they love adobo and tapsilog.

      • if you are a filipino citizen or carrying a filipino passport, you are required to give up your citizenship to join the airforce. It is mandatory. It will also not going to be appreciated carrying another flag if you are fighting for america

        • Actually, you are not. Many foreign nationals, residents of the US, join the military. Some naturalize. Some don’t

        • You can have dual citizenship, you don’t have to give up one or the other.Use your American passport to enter the Philippines.

          • You cannot hold Dual-Citizenship if you expect to be retained in the U.S. Military and Hold a Security Clearance of even the most basic level. Even Naturalized Veterans who get employed as Contractors, which have been Cleared for and Require a Secret Clearance need to Surrender their Non-U.S. passport(s) to the foreign Consulate accompanied by a Cover Letter declaring permanent repudiation of their Non-U.S. Citizenship, preferably on Department Letterhead.
            Proof of such Surrender is sent to their Security Managers for final processing. That’s when you know for certain under which flag you hold your allegiance.

        • Incorrect, plenty of eligible Permanent Residents, aka Green Card Holders, enlist in the U.S. Military. That includes myself (Air Force) and my brother (Army).

          Key Word being Enlist, not Re-Enlist and certainly not be Commissioned. To be eligible to Apply to Re-Enlist (usually when expecting a promotion into a Non-Commissioned Officer rank) or Apply for a Commission (to go to any Officer School), that’s when you have to be a Naturalized U.S. Citizen during the relevant Application Period to be considered.

          Note: Some time after 9/11, Pres. G.W. Bush signed into Law a Bill that shortened the Pre-Naturalization Residency Period for serving Active Duty Foreign Nationals, down to 3 years vs the required 5 years for Civilians.

          • I am not sure about the green card holder but i know if you hold a dual citizenship, you have to give it up and airforce will require you to only carry your US citizenship.

            “officers in the United States military must be U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens alone. If an officer candidate has a dual citizenship, then he must renounce it in order to receive an officer’s commission.

            Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8575398_do-up-dual-citizenship-military.html

          • Kindly Pay Attention to words, I used enlist not receive a commission. The rules are different depending if you’re going to be Enlisted (starting pay grade E-1) or an Officer (starting pay grade O-1).

            The lowest ranking Lieutenant or Ensign (O-1) with one day of service outranks the highest ranking Master Sergeant or Chief Petty Officer (E-9) and Chief Warrant Officer (W-5) with 20 years of service.

            To even Apply for a Commission you must already be a U.S. Citizen. The Captain would not have even been able to Apply for the Air Force Academy out of high-school if she hadn’t already been a Naturalized Citizen long before. In another life, if she’d chosen to be Enlisted, she would have still needed to be U.S. Citizen to Apply for Re-enlistment, i.e. serving another 4- or 6-year tour of duty after her first 4- or 6-year tour of duty.

            She was born a Filipina, moved to the U.S. when she was young, after at least five years of residency could Apply to be Naturalized.
            The Naturalization Oath already includes a clause Renouncing her former Citizenship.
            Ergo, no need for the “U.S. Air Force” to do anything compelling her to renounce her Philippine Citizenship; she already did that before the officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service long before. She was already an American in the eyes of America, even if she still held a valid Philippine Passport at the time.

            “I hereby declare, on oath, that I
            absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity
            to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or
            which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen
            ; that I will support
            and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America
            against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith
            and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the
            United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant
            service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the
            law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian
            direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation
            freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me
            God.”

        • kahit pa anung sabihin na dahil lang lumaki ysa sa america ang dugong nananalaytay sa kanayang ugat ay filipino parin

      • I have no connection to the Philippines and I’ve never been there. But I love the food. This from living in San Francisco and Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

        • Filipino food is very unhealthy. Fried or nutrition is boiled out of it then doused in grease, oil, lard. Sprinkled with monosodium glutamate aka MSG. A heart attack & a stroke on a plate.

          • Look at the bright side you have now a legal way to dispose of your hubby when you found another replacement…viola! no persecution no detention…

          • What ever you eat, what ever we eat, they produce the same crappy smell when you discharge it to a toilet bowl. It doesn’t smell like a perfume. It smells crap. Put that in your brain…

          • So who is forcing you to eat Filipino food Brenda S.? I don’t see anyone shoving it down your throat. If you don’t like a county and it’s people’s food, then stuff your mouth with your own country’s unhealthy food. Your like a pot talking to a kettle.

          • Your comment is idiotic. She never said anything about not liking the Philippines, she just indicated that she felt the food was unhealthy due to how it is cooked and the added lard and MSG. Actually what she said is correct and may be one reason that so many filipinos have high blood pressure. Get a life and try to escape your third world mentality of believing everyone is insulting you. By the way, yes, I am insulting you.

          • Steven, you are a stupid moronic idiot who doesn’t know how to read much more understand what is written. Where in my comment did I mention specifically the Philippines and it’s food? My statement is a general statement about any country’s food. It’s a sign of someone’s arrogance to judge anyone’s culture and food preference because they are not familiar with it or doesn’t like it. As for your comment about many Filipinos having high blood pressure. Again you are showing your stupidity and arrogance. Try researching about hypertension problems of other counties like the US. As for my 3rd world mentality. Hahah… Again, your a moron. I have been to more countries and experience a lot more cultures than you have and will have in your pathetic life.

          • another moronic attitude at its best! check US hospitals americans have the highest percentage of heart disease and diabetes due to their bad eating habits.HAMBURGERS!!! STEAKS!!! BEER!!! oh! btw,There is also a state called United States Of Bacon’ TV Show On Destination America.LOL!

          • It depends on who cooks it… I am a Filipina and I cook adobo with all that fat trimmed and never any will ever touch msg..
            Every ethnicity has a kind of cooking that is unhealthy. I am yet to meet ten obese Filipinos in one party but I have seen Mexicans, Caucasians and African-Americans who cook “healthier ” recipes..
            The White House Chef is a Filipina and cooks Filipino dishes for the slim residents over there.

          • Slim is an inaccurate indication of health. All that I know is that every time I go to a Filipino party, if I eat the food, I feel sick as soon as I get home. So, I stopped going to the parties, broke up with the guy.

          • you probably have a condition called “Idioticus Moronicus Brainlessae”, very rare disease which symptoms show exactly in your comments. Go and consult a doc… no wait, there’s nothing that can cure you except a big fat filipino slap. Too bad the filipino dude dumped you he could have cured you! you’re a lost cause.

          • Actually her bf broke up with her coz she is a dumb worthless woman that spreads her legs to any guy. In short dahil puta sya.

          • Your crap stinks like mine and your pee is smelly as mine. So stop pretending you are better than us. Every one is equal when pooing on a toilet bowl. Get real…

          • My husband says the same thing..lol but it does depend on who’s cooking it. I am a Filipino who migrated to Canada and married a German who loves to eat potatoes! I love to cook myself and does some catering once in a while. I have adapted and tweaked a lot of Filipino dishes so i don’t have to use MSG or too much salt. And my family loves it and so does my clients 🙂
            So everyone be nice! We are all entitled to our opinion. #chill#

          • brenda bautista, maybe you are doing something outside of a filipino dish that makes you feel sick, ummm like being an alcoholic,lol

          • How does this even have anything to do with the article? So they mention her favorite foods. Big deal. What makes American foods healthy? All those greasy burgers, salty fries. I agree with LionMan’s Den. No one is forcing you to eat Filipino food or any other unhealthy food. So quit criticizing our dishes

          • but at least they are real food and not ready made which are high in preservatives.we also know to cook soups and steam fish and veggies unlike most americans,they barely cook their food.

          • That’s a propogandized stereotype. I love to cook, very rarely eat processed food or restaurant food. Most of my friends are the same way. Living the fitness, healthy lifestyle makes a huge difference.

          • Garten: German
            Bautista: filipino or any other hispanic ancestry
            Brenda: parents choose this name for their kid knowing she will be an idiot. Bingo!

          • Oh a green philosopher! Well from my point of view you make as much sense as carrot frozen in the ground in winter. I couldnt care less what you think since you clearly and poorly play the smartass but that’s fine since you can’t be both american and clever. Cheers

          • Aww stef, what’s wrong, did the US embassy refuse your visa application again? Poor baby!

          • Do you know what the great thing is stef? The great thing is that your lame opinion does not really matter to Steven and Brenda since they are in a successful country and have good jobs while you are a nobody living in a backwater.

          • Successful country? You need to revise your geography. US has been in a dump for years and keeps digging. You dont to worry about me i am vwry successful where i am and my backyark pool inside my 3000sf property is fine. Get over it little thing.

          • Interesting that so many Filipinos try to go to live in the USA either legally or illegally while the numbers of Americans wanting to take Filipino nationality is almost zero. Feel free to make up all your stories that you want from your shanty in Patayas.

          • You amused me for a while now you are not only boring but just unfit to even remotely use any kind of device to write. So for my last post to your attention, go check out how many americans have left the country in the past 20 and 10 years. Why would they apply for another citizenship all they need is to settle down. Now for your incommensurable ignorance here’s an info: Pattaya is in Thailand but I suppose your knowledge of geography is as dirt as anything that comes out of your mouth (or in that case your finger tips) so arguing is pointless. You can try and play the green Plato (you know Plato right?) and poorly dispense some supermarket philosophy but you only fool yourself. Find solace in your new upcoming president whoever that is as you will be willing to relocate. However study the world map before you do anything intelligent. This time I have to say good bye for good.

          • Ahh, stef, you are partly correct, I did make a typing error on my computer. I was referring to your grand shanty over at Payatas. You know the one over against the formed landfill?

          • I manage a property. It was rented by a Cadiz family. The family ran away to avoid paying rent. Still owes me $2,700. Shameless people

          • says the american chick whose country has the most unhealthy food in the world, whose country has the most advanced system of heart attack. How’s the burger? you better crawl back from the hole you crept out from and start planting veggies to match any asian cuisine. nuff said!

          • Jackass! what do you think of those Korean,chinese,Vietnamese and Mexican foods that you swallow whenever you pig out in those restaurants.. and also those greasy Churches and Popeyes chicken that makes you crazy every tuesday….Ha???

          • Its funny that even with all the MSG .. asians have less heart attacks than Americans.

          • It depends on the skill of the cook/chef. Besides, what else could be worse than fast food, hotdog and bacon double cheeseburger. The key is moderation. LIve life a little.

      • It’s pretty obvious that Brenda is such a racist, and based on her profile she looks nothing healthy but a look of a hypocrite american that is so proud of their ever so disgusting McDonald’s.

        • Actually Brenda looks very healthy and will probably live a longer life than you since she is conscious about what she eats. She is obviously NOT a racist since she had a Filipino boyfriend as compared to you who decided to bring race into the discussion. She simply pointed out perhaps rightly that a lot of Filipino food is unhealthy. Perhaps what disturbs YOU the most is that she is correct and a lot of very well trained filipino nutritionists agree with her. If you had read her comments instead of being stuck in your small minded racist worldview you might have noted that she said she cooks most of her food herself and I would bet does not eat at McDonald’s very often. Most likely less than a lot of filipinos eat there or at Jollibees. Perhaps you need to read more.

          • Wrong statement Cadiz, didn’t you read Brendas, message she dump the guy because of the food. Read Read woman before you depend her and criticize your fellow filipino that you are one of it too.

    • u moron open ur eyes..she have a phil flag on her right chest coz she is proud 2 be a Filipino.

      • Am sure she is still very Filipino@heart but nothing wrong to adopt American culture.I loved both ways..I love America which gives me opportunities both my daughter and grandson, be able to helped my families back home..

      • If she has a Philippine flag on her flight suit, you have better eyes than I do. And if she does, she’s out of regulation…

      • LOL that’s the shield for U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command. It’s from her F-16 Qualification Course days at Luke AFB, it looks like.

      • damn, you are dumb. better have your eyyes checked. the flip government can`T even afford such a high tech fighter jet. period.

      • It’s against the uniform regulations of every branch of the US military to wear a flag of another country.

    • There Is nothing Wrong in Taking Pride And Honored As the First Filipina Elite F16 pilot Serving The US Other Than your Empty Brain.

    • There’s nothing wrong with that Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss snotpill! Look at The Neal Dayap Trust Facebook, the flags are 2 great countries representing UK & USA and being displayed in the American Cemetery in the land of United Kingdom. There’s nothing wrong with that! Are you angry with USA then? Obviously you are! Don’t you remember the History of the WW1 & WW2? When General McArthur has returned to save Philippines in the War? Without USAF Militaries you will not have the Freedom that you enjoyed now! Where’s your RESPECT!

    • She is pure blooded Filipino…am proud of her, both parents are Filipino, am sure they are very traditionally and culturally Filipino@heart.
      You will never forget your culture. .

    • It was not a literal thing….if you understand figurative of speech then you should know what the author means!!!!

    • No difference than the term “African American”. Her mom and dad are NOT FROM AMERICA. By the way, what branch of the military did YOU serve in for YOUR country?

    • Somebody always got to hate. Let them 5 minutes of glory. Shouldn’t you be somewhere chasing kids off your lawn?

    • I do agree with you shes american and there is no Philippine flag,,,, but ” you people”? I only see that this is a work written of one person. It maybe wrong from your perspective but some of us cant help but to be proud. You can die being irritated about it but you cannot tell them to stop. BTW no one on 1st glimpse will anyone will say she is american even yourself, so go ahead claim her as yours I would be very happy to read that your prouder than any of us here.

    • Snotpill, can you point out where exactly in the article did it say that the Air Force Captain is a Filipino Citizen? Yes she is an American Citizen. She cannot be an officer of the United State Air Force if she wasn’t. The plain and simple thing that this article was trying to show is the Captain’s Filipino heritage and that her coming from Filipino parents is a Filipino by blood even if she is an American Citizen and is someone the Filipino people can be proud off. So what’s the big deal about that? Are you going to tell me that people here in the States don’t identify with their parents’ motherland?

    • Bitter snotpill? Why? Because it’s a Filipina and not a trueblooded American like you flying an American war aircraft?

    • *roll eyes*
      “Jus sanguinis” & “Jus soli” That’s how we base Filipino nationality. That’s why she’s called a Fil-Am, madafaka!

    • What’s wrong in highlighting her ethnicity? Her 100% nature given Filipino DNA does not change with her law acquired citizenship. Does it suits you better if she was identified as ITALIAN American?
      Her being a proud Filipino American does not diminish her loyalty to the flag as she had proven in the skies of Iraq.
      Just shut ur jealous mouth and ride a Merry go Round and pretend it’s ur F-16.

    • You cannot be proud of her, she is an American, Besides, she is not a product of the Philippine society.

          • Ikaw pala si golpe de golat ,hah! Isip pinoy meron kapang context context ah parang ikaw lang nakakaalam ng langit at lupa ah ipinagtanggol ko lang iyong piloto maski siya’y american proud ako sa kanya hindi tulad mo parang itinatakwil mo siya wala kang pagpapahalaga sa kapwa mo dugong pinoy hoy ang hindi nagmamahal sa sariling kakayahan ng pinoy iyon ang tinutumbok ng malasang isda bye bye isip pinoy

      • What’s wrong with being proud of her? Unless it affects his life negatively of being proud of an American with Filipino heritage, then there’s something wrong with it. Who are you to tell him what he can or cannot do?

  3. She may be an American in status having lived and studied in the US but the fact remains, her roots are undeniably Filipino who displayed the Filipino character—ingenuity, persistence,determination, resiliency— in her studies to achieve what she wanted to become. Enough to make every Filipino to emulate and be proud of her…

    • Those engenuity, persistence, determination, and resiliency characteristics come from where she’s from…america.

      • I think HTAK is correct. Regardless it’s great to see a Filipina excel. It has nothing to do with her nationality or roots though Those characteristics cited above have more to do with her environment, education, and self will than from where her parents are from.
        Ms. Diao. So that’s the Filipino character? Anak ka ng comote

      • Wrong! Those came from her family upbringing and nurtured by the USA. That is what USA is all about. The cream of the crop rises to the top in a country that appreciates, nurtured and rewards ingenuity, persistence, determination, resiliency, and other outstanding characteristics. Regardless of where you came from the opportunity to excel is always there.

    • At Evelyn Diao..if she was born in the. U.S.,the she is an American of Filipino extraction. Just to be correct politically. Give her much credit as a woman who competed successfully in a male dominated field. She honors her parents culture,but lives life as an American. Stop the hating and enjoy her success as a human being…basta.

  4. Kung sa Pinas nag aral ito at kumpleto ng facilities dito, talagang maipagmamalaki ko ito bilang galing ng bansang Pilipinas..kaso hindi atin ito.. it so happen na may dugong Pinoy lang
    siya.

    • buti nasa america na cya kawawa kc mga pilot d2 sa pilipinas na ang iba ma galing pa sa kanya. na mamatay lang sa crash kasi bulok na mga jets natin!

  5. whatever it is… we are proud having a filipino in t
    his elite force… congratulations.. captain… i salute you…

    • Filipinos have no reason to be proud of her because she is an American and a product of American society.

        • Small? Bugoy tagalugin mo na lang dahil di ka rin lang maiintindihan ng amerikanong si Monessa. Huwag ka ng mag claim ng pride dahil you have nothing to do sa kanyang success.

  6. come back here in our homeland and bomb those undertaking reclamations in spratlys and all our territorial jurisdictions back to stone age

  7. @snotpil arent u not reading she is flying f16 jf, this is an american fj, there is no way phil flag will be placed on fj. You idiot

  8. When I was in boot camp; I refused to do pushups with the rest of my squad, because my drill routine was spot on. The rest of them were stepping on their dicks. I was taken to see the Company Gunnery Sergeant, who was of Philipino heritage. In 10 minutes he taught me what teamwork was all about, and I went to D.I.R.T. (Direct Individual Recruit training) as punishment. But I did so with a happy heart. I aced that, too.

  9. Hats off to Capt. Catuncan! And to the USAF! There are few countries where the daughter of immigrant parents would be recognized for the talents she possesses, and appointed to such a critical position. She’s probably 100% American – and another 50% Pinay on top of that.

  10. She is Filipino by birth but America is her home! Home where she lives with respect, equality, opportunity, bravery, and love for freedom and security. Philippines couldn’t offer those!! Thank you for making us Americans proud, soar high Capt. Monessa!

  11. Met this girl when I was deployed to Balad, Iraq. Just like her photos, she’s always smiling. You’ll never know she’s a fighter pilot until she dons her flight suit.

  12. I’m American by citizen, but My blood is Filipino, what the F*ck is your problem. There Snotpill, you need to chill out..!! … your lucky your not next to me Homeboy!

    • “also”? She’s not a PNP Officer. She’s an American officer. Magtagalog ka na lang.

  13. Wow, what an accomplishment, let us not argue about nationality. Her accomplishments should end gender and racial discrimination.

  14. To: Capt. Monessa Catuncan

    Madam Catuncan, I hope you will request from the US Airforce the honor of dropping the first bomb at the West Philippine sea to drive away the Chinese invaders. . . Thank you very much. . .

  15. There always has to be haters and trouble makers. We all have our favorite football team, don’t hate others because there not supporting your team. Separate, differentiate, criticize and hate let us not. Live Love & Laugh…

  16. She’s not Filipina. Stop claiming what’s not yours. Get you facts straight. She may be of Filipino descent, but she’s american. So f**ck y*ou!

  17. The United State Navy have had Filipino’s servicing on ships for many years so having Capt. Catuncan in USAF is great she made the grade very good for her. I hope that she later on in her service she will get the chance to fly with the Thunderbirds which would put a big feature on her flight helmet
    She proud to service her country and proud of her culture and she should be we as a nation own a lot to the Filipino’s during the WW2 they sneaked food and other supplies to our service men under the cruel treatment of the Japanese which some lost their lives for it and fought with us to regain their homeland
    So she can take pride in being a American Filipina Wild blue yonder Capt.

  18. How come she’s an american through and through when in fact she is a Filipino through and through when it said “she is the youngest daughter of filipino immigrant Mr. & Mrs. Ramon Catuncan. Therefore she is a pure blooded filipino but an american citizen.

      • But she owes part if not the most important part of her success to her Filipino parents and their excellent job of raising her. The USA provided her the opportunity to excel and fulfill her dreams which she is in the proper and fast track to be an astronaut.

  19. Hilig ng mga Pinoy na makisawsaw sa success ng mga Filipino-Americans sa US. Let’s face it, they are the product of the American society and culturally, they are 99% American.

  20. She is Filipina by blood but American by choice. Her allegiance is always to the constitution and the flag of the United States. The good thing is the Philippines and the United States of America are allies.

  21. Jason you need to study more.

    “an F-16 pilot” ? An before F it’s supposed to be “A F-16 pilot”.

    not a big deal? yeah it is cause YOU MADE AN ARTICLE! Of course it’s a big deal. be professional

    • @disqus_l2u2m4yH5M:disqus Miguel tsk, tsk, tsk, you better go back to school and study harder. What exactly are you trying to prove here? Do I need to teach you to learn the right way in making perfect grammar? You’re an idiot! Here is why, The choice is based on the first sound of the following word, not its first letter. “Hour” does not begin with a consonant sound, so the correct article is “an”, just like with any other word beginning with a vowel sound. So this is not an exception, it’s still the rule.

  22. I am very proud of her…(forget the citizenship) coz she is fighting for democracy..If she is serving US then she is serving and protecting many nations as well to includes the Philippines. Now to be honest to ourselves, are you not proud of her also?

  23. Also to clarify about the other flags being worn by US soldiers in their uniform except US is not allowed. They have Uniform Regulations. You can carry it, placed it in your wallet, pocket or any other place but should not be showing as part of uniform… you can do it if the soldiers wants it but if seen could be charged with the violation of Uniform Regs and Disobeying of Lawful Order.

  24. Agree with that ! A great accomplishment this lady has achieved. However the Philippines didn’t give her that opportunity, the United States of America did ! I “get it” that she’s proud to be a Filipina that has gone this far in her career, but lets give credit where credit is due. And that credit goes to the US of A not the Philippines….the US gave her the opportunity to be where she is today. It would not have happened in the Philippines. And also dear your an AMERICAN of PHILIPPINE ANCESTRY…not the other way around. I am so tired of hearing terms like “African American” or whatever ! Your a American first, and your ancestors came from wherever ! But American first and foremost. I am Irish / English by my ancestors but I don’t call myself a Irish or English man, but a AMERICAN of Irish and English heritage…just getting it straight.

  25. grabe and daming bitter dito. hindi matanggap na 100% Pinay nag migrate lang sa US at nabigyan ng pagkakataon na makatapos aernautical eng. is certified pilot ng F16. matuwa kayo sa achievements ng kapwa. wag crab mentality

  26. What!!!! A Philippine flag on her right chest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ang galing mo hinubaran mo at may nakita ka!!!!

  27. Mga Punyeta dami nyong sat sat… pinag aawayan nyo pa yan. Kayo ano stado nyo sa buhay? mga milyonaryo ba kayo or bilyonaryo? mga wala kayo magawa sa buhay nyo kaya puro siraan. I bet you guys live in somewhere out there with full of sh*it.

  28. Two things kung saan kilala ang mga Pinoy: crab mentality at sabit mentality. In the case of Monessa, it’s the sabit mentality ang kanilang ipinapakita.

  29. Ganyan din kaya ka-proud ang mga Pinoy sa kanyang achievement if she were in the Communist China’s air force?

  30. Sa tingin ko, ‘di naman nawawala ang pagka PILIPINO mo.. kahit ‘sang lupalop ka pa ng mundo dalhin ng iyong tadha, mananatili ka paring Pilipino. ^_^

  31. Isn’t it that Capt Catuncan is an “American” citizen? Do you think that America is proud that an American citizen (Grace Poe…or seems to be an American citizen) is running for the the highest office in the Philippines?

    PS. Did you know that Floyd Mayweather’s great great great grand father, from his mother side was half African American and Half Filipino? So aren’t we proud of Floyd to be the greatest Fil-Am boxer in the world? He has Filipino blood. Perhaps from Pasay too.

  32. With all due respect, the entire Nations of USA is consisting of people from all over the globe (with the small exception of Native Americans). What made the USA strong and united was that everybody migrating there, accepted that he was now part of a new nation. It does not matter anymore, where people came from, if only leads to racism and ethnic problems. One day hopefully the entire Planet follows the example of the USA, Australia, Singapore or other migrant Nations and stops bickering each other with who is better or worse. It only leads to problems.

  33. For all intents and purposes, Capt. Monessa Catuncan, is still considered a Filipino, even though she is an American citizen, because she has Filipino blood running in her veins. Just like some of the Chinese people here in the Philippines who are already Filipino citizens, they are still considered Chinese. Citizenship does not alter your natural being.

  34. I’m proud of Capt Monessa Catuncan who graduated with honors at the U.S. Air Force academy and fly the F-16 one of the sophisticated and best aircraft in the world.

  35. Im so pround of you and tha womens associations of the philippines highly proudly as a first lady elite F-16 US JET FIGHTER IN HISTORY..more power and God bless you always and keep you from harm no matter what happend..

  36. bkt mababago ba ng citizenship mo ang iyong kulay? maaaring mabago ang takbo ng isipan at damdamin ng isang tao dahil sa impluwensya ng paligid nito pero ang kulay at anyo ay kailanman ay hindi mababago. siguro naman kaming mga andito sa Pinas ay hindi naghahabol kung ano meron si Capt. Monessa. Pero maraming salamat kung sila mismong pamilya ay patuloy na kinikilala ang kanilang pinanggalingan. Kung kayo ay tumatalikod sa pinagmulan nyo, shame on you. Hindi kau makakarating jan sa kinaroroonan nyo kung hindi sa bansang ito na tinatalikuran nyo.

  37. She’s an accomplished American fighter pilot, leave it at that. She’s not flying P.I. colors and this whole comment section is ridiculous. I grew up in Michigan where most of us are 3rd and 4th generation Americans, most of Scandinavian and Eastern European descent. Many, many people I grew up with had small flags on their bumpers from their family countries of origin like Finnland, Sweden, Poland, Italy, you name it. Nobody ever argued about or questioned our loyalty to America for it. So, the country of her heritage is proud of her and want to celebrate her achievement. Big friggin’ deal! Get over yourselves.

  38. The way I see it, the author made a good publication. It is not something which is “over-proud” of being a Filipina/Filipino. If you deeply reflect on this article, it is not just all about Monessa. It is all about people who think of themselves as ordinary because of race, religion, etc. The article simply tells us that what seems to be ordinary people can actually achieve extraordinary things. This is to inspire people because truly a lot of people in this world today need much of inspiration.

  39. RAMON nga pangalan ng Father nya, so pure pinoy sya. Naging citizen xa ng US kya xa pasok sa USAF… ASTIG MAGING PINOY!!!

  40. The article did not mention if she was born here or in the Philippines, that is the problem which you guys doing the back and forth have. And I agree with anon in his reply to Jesse. You guys shut up, instead of dipping your fingers in the success of others, try to succeed on your own in your own country (which was my birth country). America is a great (or was) because of immigrants that they imported, or that came here on their own fleeing from countries that were tyrannical and offered no opportunities. But where the rubber meets the road, at the end of the day, they were AMERICANS, with or without the hyphen. This young lady would not have reached where she is now if her parents had not migrated to the US of A. Challenge that. She would not have reached the spot she is in now had she not persevered. And she didn’t have to be a Filipino. She could’ve been an Indonesian, a Chinese, or an Ethiopian. Point being SHE excelled because SHE, the person, is intelligent, and knew what she wanted, not because of her nationality.

  41. Once your in US military you have to give up your previous citizenship ganun talaga. My batchmate in college nung nag migrate na sila sa states pumasok siya sa US marine corps at first hindi pa siya pinayagan kasi “filipino” siya. Kaya nag apply siya for US citizenship. Baka nga mapagkamalan pa siyang spy if he refuses to submit to their rules.

  42. here comes the filipinos again making it a big deal that a fellow filipino made it to something, just keep quiet, why always be boastful about almost anything and everything.

  43. Flag, not a big deal, what is significant is how far this first generation has traveled in the beginning journey of her life. We should all have pride in that no matter what flag we owe allegiance . Salute Captain, you make both nations proud of your courage and dedication to serve freedom.

  44. Even though she’s carrying the American citizenship and not claiming as filipino descent it doesn’t matter as long as by heart and her mind she put her lives from her countrymen,being americans/filipinos pride…

  45. Of course she is American, but she also has Filipino ancestry! My daughter is the same Canadian of Filipino mom. She has 5th degree black belt in TaekWon do. It just proves that Filipinos can be as good as anybody if given a chance. The sad thing is in the Philippines so many good people are never given a chance to succeed, Filipinos are better in tearing each other down with chicka than encouraging each other. So Pinoys be proud of that young lady, she is a shining example that Filipinos can do well when given a chance.

  46. The more race & ethnic diversity is pointed out, it only causes divisions, dissention among people. Being Filipino can’t be all that great when the USA had to rescue their leader (Marcos) Their people are risking their lives to get out of the Philippines plus most of their women will accept just about any guy of any kind to get him to take her to the land of Nordstrom & Las Vegas.

  47. So she’s American, with Filipino ancestry? The Philippine media has to stop confusing being Filipino-American with being Filipino. No one ever calls Steve Jobs Algerian, Barack Obama Kenyan or Ken Jeong Chinese – most of the time, they’re simply called Americans (without the prefix).

  48. There is no information in this article to suggest that she is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

  49. Native talent, honesty, and hard work always pay. Congratulations to her whole family. And may God keep her safe. Peace.

  50. As usual Filipinos trying to get attention for something so trivial.
    She’s an American with Filipino heritage. Her citizenship is to America. Not the Philippines.
    Just like me being a filipino citizen with chinese heritage.
    Should there ever come a time that for some reason America decides to invade the Philippines..
    Do the lot of you actually think she’s gonna defect the Philippines? Escape with that F-16 and fight for this country? ha ha ha
    Are you guys running out of foreign celebrities with filipino heritage to write about?

    • She can choose to be a conscientious objector and request non-combat or assigned out of conflict country duty plus she can opt out of the military. If she really believes that invading another country (Philippines) is immoral and unjust, she can publicly speak and become spokesperson against it. It is her constitutional right as a USA citizen, you know. If China invades Philippines? Are you willing to die defending your country? I surely hope so and it may be a more realistic scenario than the USA invading the Philippines.

  51. Nakakatindig balahibo..Cheers and Mabuhay..Flipinas at America…To God be All the GLORY…!!!

  52. Thanks Captain Monessa Catuncan for striving hard to reach where you are now, and thank you Manila Livewire for this article which enhances the great Filipino dream of being at the service of the world for the cause of life.

  53. Elite US Air Force? Oh, pls!!!BY the way, skip that Filipina thing. She serves in the U.S. Air Force, hence the term “Filipino American” would be more appropriate.

  54. Educated and trained in America. She is American through and through… But i admire her perseverance and dedication to aim for the best! But to say she is a proud Filipino while protecting and serving NOT the Philippines but America doesnt sound logical. Sorry. Please address her for what she is, an American with Filipino descent.

  55. Are the Germans celebrating the win of Miss Pia Wurtzbach? Are they out in the streets dancing that a half-German won the Miss Universe. Can we please stop glorifying the successes of half-Filipino-half-this and half-Filipino-half-that or ethnic Filipino who have opted to be the citizen of another country. They do not do their successes for the Philippines. Their families in the Philippines can be proud of them and brag about them, nothing wrong about that, they connected by blood. Other Filipinos and the Philippines as a whole, are not connected with them whatsoever.

  56. This may confuse many of you arguing about this beautiful and courageous young lady’s ethnicity but here goes anyway.
    My father was of German-English-Irish decent and my mother was pure Danish but both were born in America as was I. But I now live here in the Philippines (and have for more than 5 years) and I am just as proud of her and her accomplishments as ANY NATIVE FILIPINO!

  57. This article is nonsense she is an American. An American fighting for the American flag not the Philippine flag how stupid can this writer be?, you wanna write something to be proud of? look for someone within our country.

  58. Bravo, young lady! THAT is fantastic.
    Thank you, Manila Live Wire for sharing success stories, and not just gossip or intrigue. A great model for future generations. She has set her sights, not on the miniscule arguments over whether she is Filipina or not, but she has focused on far greater service than most discriminatory minds can ever achieve.

  59. Jason E, be responsible in reporting..She is American of Filipino descent.. Don’t let us take credit for her hardwork..don’t push this misplaced pride..proud to be Filipino everytime somebody with Filipino blood exel..Yeah we can be proud of her and be inspired but to say “not to mention the only Filipino to pass…”She is in fact American..

  60. Why do you call her a Filipina when she and her parents have already abandoned their Philippine citizenship?

  61. I truly believe that more women can acheive far more than they are led to think. We are so bound up by gender and the only real difference is pure muscle power as an average. Not just this Filipina but all women who decided to give a hit in a ‘mans world’ I have the upmost respect. Also vice versa. Time is needed to break down this rednecked taboo and utilise the full human potential.

  62. Prospero ‘Paco’ Uybarreta

    Paco Uybarreta is a part-time/distance Ph.D student with the UND Aerospace Sciences Doctorate program.

    Paco is an Experimental Test Pilot for Scaled Composites. He plans and pilots elevated-risk envelope expansion, flying qualities, and initial performance testing of rapid prototype aerospace vehicles. He is Project Pilot for a new concept demonstration flight test program.

    Paco started his flying career in 1998 as a military pilot. He served in the US Air Force for 14 years as a T-37 and E-3 Instructor Pilot, Exchange Kiran Instructor Pilot to the Indian Air Force, and T-38, LJ-25, and KC-135/10 Experimental Test Pilot. He is a 2009 graduate of US Air Force Test Pilot School, where he flight-tested the NF-16, MiG-15, U-2S, and many others. At Edwards AFB, Paco was Project Pilot of ACTIVE STICK, KC-135 Guardian LAIRCM, and KC-135 Block 45. He was also the 2010-11 KC-X Source Selection Evaluation Experimental Test Pilot.

    Selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Paco separated from active-duty military service to join Bombardier Aerospace in 2012. He was a CSeries and CRJ Series Engineering Test Pilot, flying envelope expansion, handling qualities, performance, propulsion, and avionics flight tests. Paco was also Project Pilot for CRJ Series sustaining and derivative programs.

    Paco has logged more than 4,200 total pilot hours. He has also logged more than 1,000 military instructor pilot hours, more than 450 combat hours, and more than 400 experimental flight test hours. He hold FAA ATP and CFII certificates single- and multi-engine airplanes.

    Paco is a recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. He was also named the 2005 and 2006 Pacific Air Forces Exchange Company Grade Officer of the Year, the 2009 Boston University College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus for Service to the Community, and the 2010 Test Operations Field Grade Officer of the Year.

    Paco earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Boston University in 1998, an M.A.S. in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle in 2007, and an M.S. in Flight Test Engineering from US Air Force Test Pilot School/Air University in 2009. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Aeronautics with Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus, teaching undergraduate aeronautics courses online.

    http://space.edu/People/Students/DirectoryResult.aspx?id=12

  63. Inspiring young lady! My daughter is mastisa and I will share with her. At 13 years old she hopefully see that she can become anything she wants! Congratulations for all Monessa’s hard work!

  64. This has to stop. Yes, she has Filipino blood in her but she is most definitely not a Filipino. She’s an American. Her family are all American.

  65. I guess the author of this article better check her geography as Hill Air Force Base is not in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hill AFB is 31.5 miles North of Salt Lake City and is bordered by the cities of Layton, Clearfield, and Roy, Utah.

  66. Very cool!
    Have to mention, though, for the sake of the editors, one does not ‘enroll’ at a US service academy. One is nominated by an appropriate government official (typically a congressman) and then applies, or applies through a legacy quota as the son/daughter of a certain category of veterans. Or applies from the active duty enlisted force.
    Selection rate at USAFA is about 17% of applicants.

  67. Even the if this is true, I doubt if the US would allow a foreigner to join their armed forces, let alone pilot one of their hardware. She’s an American with Filipino ethnicity which makes her… AN AMERICAN! So no, she’s not Filipino.

  68. so what? is she proud of it or only you piggyback riders. There are other races in more greater fields or profession but they do not brag about anything only filipinos do like you are boastful about your pride, minor talent, skill, ingenuity etc. so narcissistic, stop the bragging for nothing we are tired of it, just be humble even if there’s no reason to be.

  69. Popcorn is greasy… but I’m eating some while reading the comments. “Mine is better than yours” “banter”, good Job people.

  70. a lot of morons here! the topic is about a Filipina Pilot not the food…..you should base your comment on the topic….shit! This Filipina Pilot is really brilliant i’m very proud of her being a pure FILIPINO blood from the Philippines.

  71. America has never has a better friend than the Philippines. The Filipino immigrants here are great and their USA born kids are too.

  72. It’s heartbreaking to read a lot of the comments here. The classic case of ‘CRAB MENTALITY’ is very much alive and well. The whole point of this article is to highlight the talent, skill, education, perseverance and dedication of Capt. Catuncan, USAF as an accomplished pilot dedicated for the defense of freedom and way of life in America. Nothing more, nothing less. She is proud of her heritage and at the same time proud of being an American role model. But to debate her nationality, her allegiance, to identify with her and to pull her down as a Filipino in whatever shape or form it may be shows the shallowness and tacky mentality of many people. Regal in her success and be happy and glad that you happen to have something in common with her. Period!

  73. The article does not mention where she was born. So you have to assume she migrated to the USA as a child. But still a great achievement no matter where she was born. Mabuhay ang Filipino!

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