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VMI Welcomes Female Combat Helicopter Pilot; Author of “Danger Close”

LEXINGTON, Va. April 3, 2023 — Virginia Military Institute welcomes guest speaker former U.S. Army Kiowa helicopter pilot Amber Smith, on Thursday, April 13 at 7:45 p.m. in Gillis Theater in Marshall Hall. Smith will share her experiences flying into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world as chronicled in her book, “Danger Close: My Epic Journey as a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The event is free and open to the public as part of the Center for Leadership and Ethic’s Courageous Leadership speaker series. 

Smith was one of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter. Purposed for armed reconnaissance, the helicopter requires its pilots to stay low and fly fast, and perilously close to the fight. Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the elite 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles, where she rose to Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander. Smith is a former deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense. 

While there will not be copies of her book for sale at the event, there will be a book signing on stage following her talk for anyone who brings their own copy. Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in Q&A.   

For more information, contact Kim Connolly at 

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