Fly girl taxis troops

When MaLinda Hammond is not giving financial advice to clients and potential investors, she is flying our troops in a C-130 cargo transport aircraft in Afghanistan as a Major in the Texas Air National Guard.

Hammond, who works as a financial planner for Saunders & Associates in Flower Mound, said transporting troops is something she has grown quite fond of doing.

“We are more of a short leg hauler,” Hammond said. “When we get troops into the country, our job is to carry them to their forward operating bases and obviously resupply them and all that stuff.”

Hammond, 35, who has been flying since the age of 15, said she decided to pursue piloting as a possible career when she was studying at the University of Alabama.

“When I went to college, I got into ROTC,” Hammond said. “My dad’s a pilot, and I told him that I wanted to fly when I was much younger. He paid for lessons, and that kind of started it all.”

Hammond has been in the military for just over 12 years and is married to a navigator, who also flies on a C-130.

As far as the level of risk involved, Hammond said it can be quite dangerous, but added that her husband seems to encounter trouble more often than she does.

“I guess it depends on who you ask,” Hammond said. “I have never felt nervous or uncomfortable before a flight. Flying is a dangerous business, though. It doesn’t matter what you’re in.

“My husband tends to be more of the missile and bullet magnet than I am. I get shot at every once in a while. My husband gets shot at every time he deploys.”

Hammond, who counts playing golf and reading among her hobbies, is also a bit of a wine connoisseur, and said she and her husband like to travel to the Napa Valley when they have a chance and learn about viniculture.

Hammond said her last deployment was three months ago and she will not deploy again until 2013, and said, with relatives having served in the first two world wars and her father serving in Vietnam, she wanted to carry on the tradition in her family.

“As I studied and started learning more about it and our family history, I just wanted to be able contribute a little bit,” Hammond said. “It didn’t take but one deployment to Afghanistan in 2003, and that was it. Whether I agree with a conflict or not, I support the troops. That’s literally what I do, and I take that very seriously.”


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