Sq-Ldr Linda Corbould, 41, joined the RAAF as a 17-year-old, after finishing school at Alanvale College, and was recently awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
She won the medal for planning and running a RAAF C-130 Hercules transport flight to the newly liberated Iraqi capital on the night of April 12-13.
Sq-Ldr Corbould said she was given the mission at short notice and had it done within 30 hours, and stayed awake the entire time.
She is one of the RAAF's few female pilots and flies C-130s based at Richmond, in NSW, but was not at the controls that night, because she had to run the whole operation.
The plane took a "tactical route", meaning it flew around areas where the inhabitants had guns and surface-to-air missiles and were willing to use them.
Her mission delivered five tonnes of medical equipment for Baghdad, which she said was particularly satisfying because it would relieve suffering.
The complex mission was also considered so well organised that she won her Order of Australia honour and got to speak to Mr Bush when he visited Australia in October.
Sq-Ldr Corbould met Mr Bush at a function for members of the military at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
"He said he had enjoyed himself (in Australia) and was glad he came," she said.
"It was a highlight of my career because he was such a powerful leader and he really did have a presence in the room.
"He seemed very genuine and grateful for the work that the service people had done. It was great, he really was."
Sq-Ldr Corbould expects she will receive her medal from the NSW Governor in April or May.
But yesterday she was happy to watch the cricket at the home of her parents, Margaret and Arthur Corbould, as she is a cricket fan.
She will return to RAAF Richmond in mid-January and expects to transfer later this year to Tamworth, where she will work as a flying instructor for trainee RAAF pilots.