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When I tell visitors about the Pima Air & Space Museum's F-14 Tomcat, I always work in a few words about women in military aviation. The Tomcat seems like the right place to introduce the topic: first because the US Navy, along with the US Army, led the way in training woman aviators in 1974, a full two years before the US Air Force got on board; second because after combat restrictions were lifted in 1994 some of the very first woman fighter pilots were naval aviators assigned to the Tomcat.

Time constraints keep me from saying much about the overall topic of women in civil and military aviation, and that's a shame because there's a lot to say. We've all heard about Amelia Earhart and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. We've all heard about the WASP pilots and crews who test-flew American fighters and bombers and ferried them from the USA to overseas combat bases during WWII. I mention these women too, but in a 50-minute tour there's never time to do more than scratch the surface.

air_lightning31
WASP pilot Ruth Dailey climbing into a P-38 Lightning aircraft, 28 Nov 1944

Who, outside Russia, knows about the USSR's women fighter pilots who flew against the Luftwaffe? Who remembers Bessie Coleman, who in 1921 became the first African-American woman to earn a pilot license? Or Helen Richey, who was hired by Central Airlines in 1934, becoming the first woman airline pilot? Or Jacqueline Cochran, in 1953 the first woman to break the sound barrier? Or Jerrie Mock, who in 1964 became the first woman to finish what Amelia Earhart started in 1937, and did it solo in a single-engine Cessna? If there was ever a doubt in your mind that women catch the same flying bug that has infected generations of young men, a glance at this list will fix that.

When I write about flying, I try to inject personal experience. Sadly, when it comes to women in military aviation, I don't have much (personal experience, that is). What little I do know is limited to the US Air Force and largely confined to fighter aviation, so I won't speak outside those boundaries.

Military aviation was male-only when I went through pilot training in 1974. Although the Navy and Army began training female pilots that year, my service didn't follow suit until 1976, and women didn't start flying in operational Air Force units until 1977. I was a T-37 instructor pilot at an Air Training Command base in Oklahoma from 1975 to 1978; the first woman instructor pilots didn't arrive at that base until after I'd transferred to the F-15. Fighters, unlike trainers, were still off-limits to women, and stayed so until 1994. By the time women began flying fighters in the Air Force, it was the second half of the 1990s and I was in a ground job, soon to retire. To my regret, I never had the opportunity to fly with women pilots.

After I retired from the military in 1997 I went to work as a civilian contractor, teaching flight safety to USAF pilots and aircrews at bases in the US, Korea, and Japan. That was when I finally started meeting, and training, woman fighter pilots. Their numbers were so small I can count the ones I worked with then on the fingers of one hand: one F-15 pilot and three A-10 pilots (I got to know two of the A-10 pilots reasonably well and am still in touch with both today, although by now they're retired like me).

There was a lot of resistance to women pilots inside the military, first in the 1970s when they began to fly non-combat military aircraft, then again in the 1990s when they started flying fighters and bombers. Senior military leaders and old-school pilots from the men-only days pulled out all the stops: they'll have to have separate locker rooms and restrooms; we won't be able to tell jokes and sing dirty songs at the bar; women aren't physically capable of pulling Gs; they'll get knocked up and grounded if there's ever a threat of actually going to war; if they do go to war with us and one of them gets shot down the American public will revolt ... and on and on (and on, and on).

An interesting subset of resistance came from military wives, who worried about what might happen when their husbands were on alert or away on temporary overseas duty with woman pilots. Never mind that woman military aviators are generally married themselves, with spouses at home.

When I was flying F-15s at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa in the early 1990s, there were two or three woman pilots and navigators assigned to the AWACS and tanker units there. We fighter pilots knew them professionally (we planned and flew missions and deployments together); along with our wives we knew them socially (we all drank at the same officers' club). Some of the same tensions existed then; women in flight suits were rare and many of the wives distrusted them. Donna and I got to know one of these women, a KC-135 navigator, pretty well, and we stayed friends for years afterward.

At least in the USAF, I think the resistance has run its course. Women, of course, fly airplanes as well as men. They're motivated and have proven themselves in combat. Some have died in accidents, some have been shot down, some have even been POWs. The American public did not revolt, the world did not end. There have by now been several woman fighter squadron commanders (one of my friends was one) and a few woman wing commanders. Women fly with the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.

628x471
Capt Jammie Jamieson, first combat-ready USAF woman F-22 pilot. Photo: Dan DeLong (2008)

Their numbers are still small, though, especially compared with overall numbers of women in the military. Speaking of the USAF alone, while almost 20% of the overall officer and enlisted force is female, women make up only about 5% of the pilot force. I understand the same ratio holds true for the US Navy and the civilian airline industry. I don't know if that means anything, or if any conclusions can be drawn from it. Cultural conditioning may play a role; we still tend to think of certain occupations as male or female ... but what do I know?

Why aren't more women drawn to military aviation? Reader comments welcomed!

Originally posted to pwoodford on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force, History for Kossacks, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Air-Minded Index (12+ / 0-)

    Not all of my air-minded posts appear on Daily Kos. They are all collected on my personal blog, and here's an index to them.

  •  Thank you for an interesting diary! (13+ / 0-)

    I have a book called The Night Witches about the Soviet Women in WW II.  Brave ladies!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:36:31 PM PDT

    •  Great Book (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk

      Both my wife and my mother loved it, and neither reads that sort of thing normally.

      Definitely a story that needs to be told.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:23:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  kind thanks, & truly fascinating. Have you heard (9+ / 0-)

    from SF?  I've been away for awhile due to travel & dead computer upon return. Came across the early preview episode of our latest Doctor Who, and suspect he may get a kick out of it if you know any way I can share link with him?  Thanks

    We are all made of star stuff, so please be kind to dust bunnies.

    by jwinIL14 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:53:46 PM PDT

  •  I think we need to maybe fix the whole rape (5+ / 0-)

    culture in the military, for both men and women.  Otherwise I just want to do the Japanese way of expressing disapproval - longish audible intake of breath...

    I do know a female pilot, but I don't know which branch - I will have to ask her next time I see her...

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:57:04 PM PDT

  •  I had the privilege of serving with a number of.. (14+ / 0-)

    ....women in the transport business, in all crew positions. Our squadron had at least a dozen women pilots during my tenure there, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle...

    We also had a number of enlisted women as Flight Engineers and Loadmasters, and I had friends among the "original eight" women selected to be Flight Engineers...

    Once I was on a mission with Eileen Collins, she was a captain and our Aircraft Commander, our squadron commander was her co-pilot, he and I were the only men on the crew, the Flight Engineers and the third pilot were women, AND, while we were at Diego Garcia a crew from our squadron came thru, the highly-touted "All Girl Crew" Round the World Flight, we had every woman in the squadron there during our overnight....  

    We had highly motivated women with a lot of experience. Col Collins came to us from about seven years as a T-37 and T-38 instructor pilot, and openly asserted that her purpose was to be a Shuttle pilot, after getting her "Higher Crew Qualification" and "High Performance Aircraft Qualification" she came to us to get her "Crewed Aircraft Command Experience" block checked off, and the last time I saw her she was headed off to Edwards with a class date for "Test Pilot Qualification" which was the next thing she needed on the road to Cape Canaveral....

    We had a pilot who had been flying since she was twelve, she was from out west someplace and literally used to fly the family Tri-Pacer down to the South Forty to drop off dad's lunch!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:59:20 PM PDT

  •  Israeli women pilots have been combat-rated (4+ / 0-)

    since 2001. I suspect some are flying as we speak.

  •  Women in NavAir (9+ / 0-)

    I was lucky enough to have gone through the Training Command with several women at the "beginning" of their journey in Naval Aviation.  

    Female Officers had been getting orders to the Training Command for several years after I arrived, I think two or three years. There was still an attitude of "they shouldn't be here" and rumors (most unfounded, but some dead-on accurate) about female students sleeping with instructors, which didn't help anyone's perception of female Student Naval Aviators.

    The two I remember the best were LTJG Jonnie Bennet, who I believe was the first woman to land solo on a carrier.  She qual'd in the venerable T-28C aboard the Lady Lex, I believe.  It was at a time when the old reliable S-2F was being retired as the training aircraft for fixed-wing prop pilots, and students were being sent out the boat to get their Traps in the T-28 before heading off to multi-engine training in the T-44 (King Air).  

    The other was a LT who I got to be friends with while we were both in ground school at VT-27.  Sadly her plight was one that reinforced the idea that women got "special treatment" in training.  

    As part of the T-28 protocol we were not allowed to use the parking brake as we did the "run up" on the T-28.  We had to hold the brakes with our feet (toes).  The rationale was that when we did the run-up, should the parking brake fail while doing the mag check with 30 inches of manifold pressure set we could potentially surge forward into another aircraft or even onto an active runway.  The T-28's we flew had 1425 horsepower, so with 30 inches of power applied, you'd be gone faster than you could stop.  

    This LT could not hold the brakes, she was too short even with the rudder pedals full aft.  The T-28 seat didn't move forward, so her ability to hold the brakes was nil.  They tried everything from putting blocks on the rudder pedals to jury-rigging her seat. Nothing worked.  Had it been a man, they would have been deemed "NPQ" Not Physically Qualified and sent away, but she was given the opportunity to fly the T-34C, which she fit in quite well.  There was a lot of discontent about that, because a male student who was too tall was disqualified from flying jets because he was too tall for the ejection seat on the A-4.  He managed to avoid going to Surface Warfare because they had let the other LT "have another chance".  The grumbling ended soon after that.  Fairness won.

    I served with several women Naval Aviators in the Fleet, two in my squadron.  One was an awesome Aviator, who was fun to fly with and had a great attitude, the other was a pain-in-the-ass know-it-all who was generally disliked because she thought she had "been there and done that" despite not ever making a deployment.  At the time women were not allowed to make full deployments, so she'd go on work-ups or training detachments and act like she'd made a WestPAC/IO cruise.  

    I'm glad that women are part of the Fleet and Naval Aviation, I know that they've had a long, hard road to get there.  It's long overdue, and well-earned.  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:19:34 PM PDT

    •  Too tall seems like an odd DQ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jo fish

      at that point in a career.  When I considered becoming a Naval Aviator, one of the FIRST things they did was measure me. Height, weight, BP, heart rate and then they set me up on a table against the wall and measured from the table (deck) to the top of my head and from the bulkhead to my toes.  I had to fit inside a range of those measurements before I could take the cannon fodder exam.

      “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

      by markdd on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:44:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, it was odd... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markdd

        He'd been a BBall player at the Boat School, and even though we all got measured, poked and probed at NAMI in Pensacola, he'd either been measured incorrectly or slipped through that Astronaut physical somehow (incorrectly marked form? clerical error?).  

        He went for his annual flight physical when he got orders from Corpus to Beeville, and they tagged him as "too tall" there.  He ended up getting orders into the E2/C2 pipeline, CQ'd in the T-28  and then went on to fly the T-44 and the E-2 if memory serves correctly.  

        A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

        by jo fish on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:20:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Admiral Robinson?? (0+ / 0-)

          Usta was the military created massive databases and could tell you the size of a 95th Percentile and 5th percentile man or woman in the military service.  All equipment had to be built to accommodate those sizes, and didn't have to handle larger and smaller sizes.  

          Although all astronauts are larger than life size, in reality, they're mostly under 6' 2",  IIRC the average size of a Mercury astronaut was like 5' 8".

          David (Admiral) Robinson was released from his 4 year commitment to the Naval Service after only 2 years because there wasn't a billet anywhere in the USN for a 7' 1" officer...

          “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

          by markdd on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:51:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think Robinson got an early release based on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            markdd

            an agreement with the Navy he made before committing for his junior year at the academy.  He was considering leaving because of the limitations that his height would impose in serving on submarines (his first preference, since his father was an enlisted submariner) and Naval Aviation.

            If memory serves me, he was an junior officer in the Civil Engineering Corps where height is unlikely to be a disqualifying trait.

            Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps makes as much sense as trying to pick up a chair while you're still sitting in it.

            by Ammo Hauler on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:35:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Too tall often had to do with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markdd

        ejection seats. Too short often had to do with a pilot's ability to stand on the toe brakes during engine run ups, or to put in full rudder deflection if it was ever needed. As ejection seats improved and cockpit ergonomics got better, some of the old restrictions became less important, but I bet they're still on the books.

  •  You might enjoy the stories of female pilots (3+ / 0-)

    on this list, depending upon your taste for humorous embellisment:

    Badass of the Week: Aviation/Pilots
    Jacqueline Cochran
    Anna Yegorova
    Lydia Litvyak
    Amelia Earhart
    Kim Campbell

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:51:35 PM PDT

  •  Not an aviator, but worthy of a shout-out, and not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, FarWestGirl

    least because she's an alumna of my school:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    I met the general briefly, way back when. I don't believe it was at the dedication of this memorial, but it, too is worth a mention:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  Not just military aviation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    2013 data pegs women participatoin in all area's of civil aviation at around 5-7 percent.

  •  Betty Skelton (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pilotshark

    Still revered in the air race and aerobatics world. Arguably "made" the Pitts Special in terms of establishing it as a standard for competition aerobatics. Set airspeed and altitude records, and had several other "firsts" in aviation. Worked with GM on Corvette marketing. Set land speed records, raced cars, was the first "boat jumper," and in general did a lot of things "girls" weren't supposed to do.

    http://www.boston.com/...

    http://johnstraub.blogspot.com/...

  •  Thanks PW, really enjoyed it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shotput8, Otteray Scribe

    sadly an often overlooked subject.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:45:53 AM PDT

  •  Who outside of the German Luftwaffe days remembers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shotput8, NHlib

    Hanna Reitsch??  

    "Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviator, Nazi test pilot, and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. She set over forty aviation altitude and endurance records during her career, both before and after World War II, and several of her international gliding records still stand in 2012. In the 1960s she founded a gliding school in Ghana, where she worked for Kwame Nkrumah."

    More:

    "In 1937 Reitsch was posted to the Luftwaffe testing centre at Rechlin-Lärz Airfield by Ernst Udet. She was a test pilot on the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Dornier Do 17 projects. Reitsch was the first female helicopter pilot and one of the few pilots to fly the Focke-Achgelis Fa 61, the first fully controllable helicopter."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    She was the test pilot for the rocket-propelled Messerschmitt Me 163, of which one is on display in the Smithsonian Air And Space Museum located at the Dulles Airport in VA.  This major air and space addition to the Smithsonian is a must see for any aviation fan.

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 10:49:44 AM PDT

  •  WOW! (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Skaje

    I make one mention of Kara Hultgreen in a comment and it immediately gets an avalanche of HRs?

    Talk about white-washing history...

    •  sniff (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, JayBat

      "I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity." Nadezhda Mandelstam

      by LaFeminista on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 02:00:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Was the Kara Hultgren comment posted (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, Ellid, JayBat

      to my diary and this comment thread? I don't see it here, but I did see one such comment on Facebook, where I posted a link to this diary.

      Show you how little I know about dKos culture, I don't even know what an HR is.

      I didn't get into the real ugliness that surfaced when women started flying fighters because I only observed it from a distance and didn't feel qualified to talk about it.

      I do know some disgruntled male aviators said some shit about Kara after she crashed and died. Same thing happened with a few of the early USAF female aviators who crashed. I pretty much discount such talk as I-told-you-so sour grapes.

      Anyone who can get through military flight training, then advanced training in an operational fighter or bomber, then get carrier qualified on top of everything else, has got to be pretty damn good.

      •  HR = Hide Rated (0+ / 0-)

        PW, you are a Trusted User, so you should be able to see hidden comments. Also, notice at the top right in the "Welcome Back" box just below your username, you will see comment replies and "Hidden."  Open that link and you will see all the hidden comments. Just keep plenty of eyewash and brain bleach handy--it's ugly in there.

        That comment had five hide-rates and zero recs.  That user also got the banhammer.

        On a positive note, I have a planned diary about Evelyn "Mama Bird" Johnson. She gave instruction right down the road from me and one of my great regrets in life is that I never got some dual with her and her signature in my logbook. Her logbook shows 57,635.4 hours of flight time.

        Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

        by Otteray Scribe on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:32:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very Scary McSally (0+ / 0-)

    Pima Air & Space Museum is awesome.
    However we have a dragon lady to slay, Martha McSally is running again opposing Congressman Ron Barber.

    Gal McSal, hailing from Rhode Island, became a Colonel & transplanted her sorry ass to the Old Pueblo, where she thinks she should be our Congress-female-man.  Her points reflect the Koch brothers agenda.

    She is the catastrophe Arizona does NOT need.  
    She must not win.

    I strive to be the burr in every repug's saddle.

    by AriesAmiga on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 12:18:04 PM PDT

    •  Martha McSally is one of the A-10 pilots (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      mentioned in my diary. I got to know a little when I was teaching flight safety as a civilian contractor in my post-USAF life. Actually I first met her when I was still on active duty ... I was with the range group at Nellis AFB and she was there with other A-10 pilots to fly in a Red Flag exercise. I met her again when I taught the safety course, and I see her around town from time to time. We're not close friends or anything like that, more "how's it going?" acquaintances.

      I like Martha. She's always known her own mind and has never been afraid to express herself. She makes an impression on people ... I'm sure Dick Cheney remembers her from Desert Storm, when she stood up in the Q&A session after his speech and gave him hell about her having to wear a burqa off-base in Saudi Arabia. Or was it not being able to get Christmas packages from home? Something like that, and Cheney definitely wasn't prepared for it.

      I'm crushed she's a conservative Republican with neanderthal views, and as much as I like her personally, sincerely hope she doesn't get elected.

      But I guess my point is that people tend to like Martha when they meet her, and I'm not at all sure that can be said of Ron Barber. I think Ron's in for a hard race this time around.

  •  Why fewer women? (0+ / 0-)

    Because being an aviator is hard.  And no, its not that women cant do it, its just a numbers game.

    Take X percentage of the population.  Of that less than 30% are fit for military service of any kind.

    That group is not a 50/50 split of men and women.  Its more like 60/40 so women start from a lower base number.  

    Take that group and roughly 8-15% are interested in military service.  

    The split gets even 'worse' here going to about 70/30.

    Of the total fit for service less than 1/3 apply/attempt  - roughly 3% of the total population.  

    Of the 3% roughly one percent actually make it through initial training.

    From that one percent only the top 10% are fit for aviation.

    Of that top 10% about 2% attempt to become aviators.

    Of that half make it.  

    For women aviators there are some additional factors.  Pulling multiple Gs is hard on the body.  It can be deadly for an unborn child so KNOWING for sure you either are or are not pregnant is pretty important (this is true of other military jobs - Mrs. Wildkat likely suffered a miscarriage due to exposure to extreme RF radiation when she did not know she was pregnant).  If you are going to be a fighter pilot you have to accept you cant be a mom for a few years.  Transporter have it a little better but at some point you cant fly.  Funny thing about aviation - not flying is bad.  

    So of all the people in the country you end up with a very small number of women who:

    Can joint the military
    Want to join the military
    Pass initial training
    Can be an aviator
    Want to be an aviator
    Are willing to give up/delay certain things
    Pass aviator training

    Its been a while since I was "close to the numbers" but historically we have had more men in the "want to" than we needed while with women we had more "could if they wanted to" than "want to" by a pretty big number.  In other words, if we could get more women who wanted to take that last step they would probably succeed while with men we have a lot of guys with big dreams who are never going to make it.  That is a good problem to have because it means you can select just the very best of those men.  The problem with women is they are self selecting into other fields.  When I ran a language school women were over represented compared to the general military population.  With the exception of those with eyesight problems, all of my linguists met the qualifications to be aviators because we were just as selective and in some cases more selective (we had no "moral" waivers.  Aviators have no morals.  Badum ching, Ill be here all week.  Try the veal!).  Lots of Army Nurses have the qualifications to be aviators.  Blame society, media, their moms, their husbands, or Obama but the fact is more women want to become nurses than fly helicopters.  I supposed we could force them but I dont see that ending well.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 12:52:23 PM PDT

    •  Agree with everything you say, (0+ / 0-)

      starting with "because it's hard."

      But so is becoming an MD. Huge financial burden, years and years of schooling, and a rigorous certification process on top of that. I wonder what the stats are on female physicians?

      I don't know the answer to that, BTW. Just trying to be a troublemaker.

      •  MD? yes and no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Kong

        The biggest difference is physical.  The Army is facing a straight up crisis in recruiting because of obesity, drugs and crime.  Drugs and crime have been around for a long time and we know how to deal with that.  Obesity is new and we have no way around it.

        Every year we have THOUSANDS of 18-25 year olds (prime military service age) who WANT to join the Army but who are simply too fat.  And when I say fat I mean FAT.  We can work the chubby out of people but we cant turn "biggest loser" types into soldiers.  

        The Army is staring at a demographic nightmare - ever declining size of physically able population and the least preferred of the 4 (5 if you count the CG) services to join.  We have serious concerns about being able to field a force in the near future.  Its why the Army is in high schools promoting fitness.  Its why we are promoting nutrition.  We have the largest recruiting mission and the biggest barriers to getting people to join.  Unlike the Air Force we cant just buy the talent we need because it would cost too much.  Unlike the marines we cant get away with recruiting 8 people a year.  We need 80,000 every year.  Saddly, its getting harder and harder to find 80K no fat high school seniors.  

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:20:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I flew with one of the first female naval aviators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe

    She was a Captain on the Airbus 300 and had been one of the first females to go through carrier qualification.

    I gave her crap because her landing was definitely carrier worthy. Still she was very nice and paid for my dinner that night. That's an old tradition that few Captains do any more.

    Sadly she died two years ago, shortly after retiring.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:14:49 PM PDT

  •  As with most of the flying diaries, I sent this to (0+ / 0-)

    my brother a long time pilot (civil aviation) and instructor.  Here is his reply:

    You may or may not remember that several years ago, before I lapsed my CFI for the final time (I don't expect to reinstate my flight instructor certificate again) I'd attend weekend renewal courses with Wally Funk. She was in one of the first classes, if not THE first, in the female astronaut program. I was fully aware of the frustration women were going through, and Wally once showed us a film of the women in her class cheering at the launch when Sally Ride rode.

    A few months ago I was moved to post a diary when Steve Doocy seemed amazed that a woman actually might earn airline pilot status and be able to land a plane when the captain was stricken.  He attempted to portray the incident as her being rescued by a B-1 pilot who was a passenger.  (The Air Force pilot would have none of that but that didn't change things.)  

    Having long followed women in aviation, I especially appreciated this as I have your many others.  Thanks.

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