Lt Col Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell grew up in Parker, Colorado and attended the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was commissioned in 1998 and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Engineering. She received a Masters in Business Administration from Touro University in August 2005.
Lt Col Kimbrell attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, TX and was awarded her pilot wings in August 1999. She then completed Introduction to Fighter Fundamental training at Randolph AFB, TX in November 1999. In August 2000, she graduated from her initial F-16 training at Luke AFB, AZ becoming the first African American female fighter pilot in the USAF.
She was assigned to the 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa, Japan for her first operational assignment from August 2001 to July 2003 where she served as an F-16 Fighter Pilot. During this time she was deployed to Turkey and Saudi Arabia in support of OPERATION NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH. Her flights in OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH marked her as the first female pilot to fly combat missions for Misawa's 35th Fighter Wing. Additionally, during OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH she became the first African American female pilot to employ ordnance in combat. Upon completion of her tour at Misawa, Lt Col Kimbrell was reassigned to serve as F-16 Fighter Pilot and Chief of Wing Scheduling from July 2003 to July 2004 in the 8th Operations Support Squadron, Kunsan AB, Korea. While at Kunsan she flew with the 80th Fighter Squadron.
In July 2004, she graduated from the Joint Fire Control Course and was assigned to the 15thAir Support Operations Squadron, Ft Stewart Georgia. From August 2004 to June 2007 she served as the A-Flight Commander, 1st Brigade Air Liaison Officer. During this time she deployed as the 2nd Brigade Air Liaison Officer in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
In June 2007 Lt Col Kimbrell was assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB Italy where she was initially the Aircrew Flight Equipment Flight Commander and later served as Assistant Director of Operation for the 555 Fighter Squadron and finally as the 31st FW AFSO21 Program Director.
In December 2009 Lt Col Kimbrell relocated to 6th Combat Training Squadron, Nellis AFB where she served as the Course Manager for the Air Liaison Officer Qualification Course and an instructor. From this assignment she separated from active duty Air Force and transitioned to the Air Force Reserves in Oct 2013.
From Oct 2013 to present Lt Col Kimbrell is a member of the 78th Attack Squadron and serves as an MQ-9 Pilot and Mission Commander.
Lt Col Kimbrell has flown the F-16, T-38, T-37, T-3 and MQ-9. She has over 2100 flight hours which include over 1100 in the F-16, of which 176 were combat hours and over 750 hours in the MQ-9, 725 of which were combat support hours . Her military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Medals, five Aerial Achievement Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.
Lt Col Kimbrell is married to Mr. Travis Kimbrell of Huntsville, Alabama and has a 9 year old son Kade and a 5 year old son Jakeb.