Lt. Commander Loree Draude Hirschman

Pilot : S-3B Viking. Only female pilot in the USS Abraham Lincoln's S-3B Viking antisubmarine warfare squadron

hirschman_hornet_1_200.jpg Lt. Commander Loree Draude Hirschman

Loree Draude Hirschman served in the US Navy for 10 years, from 1989 to 1999 and left active duty as a Lt. Commander. She was one of the first female aviators to make the West Coast deployment of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln.

On Oct. 25, 1994, the then Lt. Hirschman flew her S-3B Viking aboard the Lincoln to begin her first six-month deployment as a Navy pilot. It was an important day for another reason, too. That same day Lt. Kara Hultgreen, a female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot, was killed trying to land on the Lincoln.

Hultgreen's death reignited a firestorm of controversy over whether women should be allowed to fly high-performance combat aircraft and Hirschman inherited both the underlying resentment and the challenge as she worked to prove she and other women belonged in the cockpit.


Lt. Loree Draude Hirschman, S-3B Viking

From her early days in flight training however, through to her assignment aboard the Lincoln, Hirschman found wide institutional resistance to female pilots and a hostile atmosphere that obstructed the training and assignment of women to this highly specialised military role.

Based on a review by William D. Bushnell of  She's Just Another Navy Pilot: An Aviator's Sea Journal, Loree Draude Hirschman and D Hirschman, Cont., Naval Institute Press

hirschman_loree_150.jpg Hirschman, Loree Draude and Hirschman, D., Cont.
She's Just Another Navy Pilot: An Aviator's Sea Journal, Naval Institute Press; ISBN: 1557503354; May 12, 2000

The publisher comments..."When the USS Abraham Lincoln left San Diego in April 1995 for a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf, it was the first Pacific Fleet ship to go to sea with female combat pilots.

Before they had even gotten underway, one of the eighteen women aviators had been killed. By the time the ship returned to California, another had turned in her wings, and a third had been sent home for poor performance.

But most thrived in their demanding new environment despite the pressures. This is the story of one of those pilots, Loree Hirschman, a twenty-seven-year-old navy lieutenant and the only female pilot in the carrier's S-3B Viking antisubmarine warfare squadron. She describes the historic cruise with rare candor and balance.

In the center of one of the most pressing social issues facing the military today, Hirschman offers both a personally revealing and professionally insightful account of breaking into the world of the male combat pilot. She writes frankly about the strained interaction between men and woman on the Lincoln as they struggled to define their new roles and about the women's attempts to overcome mistrust and resentment by proving their skill, courage, and determination.

She describes the typically competitive route to the deployment and reflects on the irony of flying her jet to defend Arab countries that won't allow women to drive cars, bare their arms, or even go out alone in public.

Informative as well as entertaining, her chronicle of life at sea is a testament to the accomplishments of these pioneering women. No matter which side of the debate a reader takes, Hirschman adds a significant new dimension to the controversy over female integration of navy combataviation squadrons. As co-ed deployments become routine and women like Hirschman can be accepted as just another pilot, her journal will serve as a reminder of the navy's struggle to adjust to a new era."


Lt. Loree Draude Hirschman

Read the first chapter

Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 (out of 5); Summary: Strongly recommended!

Comment: Before reading She's Just Another Navy Pilot, I knew about the author from Jean Zimmerman's Tailspin: Women at War in the Wake of Tailhook. I had seen her letters of rebuttal to reactionary editorial in the San Diego Union Tribune, and to unfavorably slanted articles in Newsweek.

I knew her name as a successful Naval aviator and very credible advocate of women in her profession. When I received her book from Amazon, I opened it immediately, and did not put it down until I had finished it. What a fascinating autobiography of a most extraordinary person!

Loree Draude Hirschman was one of the US Navy's first female fighter-pilots to transfer to fleet combat operations. She describes the early opposition to women in the jet-jock community and the sometimes open hostility she encountered.

She details her first deployment, in which female aviators were isolated and ostracized. By the end of that cruise, one had been killed, another grounded for poor performance, and another had turned in her wings.

But with perseverence and dignity, the majority of the sixteen women in the pioneer group had succeeded. By her second deployment, female aviators had already begun to find acceptance -- especially after one new F/A-18 pilot won the "Top Nugget Award" for best score in qualifications. (Loree herself earned placement in the Top Ten.)

I hope this book will be read by opponants of female aviators. The author exposes the distortion of fact they have presented to the public. Yet she is refreshingly frank about problems which still exist in the gender-integrated Navy.

I hope her book will be read by aspiring pilots in search of a role model. Her descriptions of flying and the flight deck are vivid, and make the reader feel right there with her. And her pride in her Naval service is inspiring, even though she relates her accomplishments with modesty.

Rating: 5 (out of 5); Summary: Honesty about the issues facing women in service

Comment: This was a great book! Open, honest and to the point. There is no sugar coating here, just straight simple truthful writing. I recomend it to anybody who wants a dose of reality about trans-gender issues in a hostile environment.

Rating: 5 (out of 5); Summary: Awesome book for anyone!

Comment: I was recommended this book when I shared with a friend my interest in the Air Force and Army. I never read much, but this got my attention. Her discription of life at sea, and all the little things she had to deal with, that civilains never think about on land. The author made it easy to understand her emotions, and her life style. It was an excellent resource to how woman were integrated into the Navy, and how difficult it was. It was facts, and also her opinions as she lived through it. I loved it!

Further Reading

Loree Hirschman, San Carlos, CA: Dragonfire from 94-97


U.S. Naval Academy

By Harry Hirschman, Loree Hirschman, and Jason Santamaria
Wharton MBA Students (WG 2001)

"We develop leaders morally, mentally and physically" - So goes the mission statement of the United States Naval Academy and the order of the three tenets is no accident. The military holds itself to higher moral standards than society at large, and the people in charge of the leadership curriculum at the USNA start with the moral and ethical aspects of leadership, followed by leadership theory and physical training.

A small group of faculty and students from the Wharton School's MBA program visited the Naval Academy recently to find out more about how they teach leadership to America's future Navy and Marine Corps officers. Admiral Hank Chiles retired from the Navy after more than 30 years in the submarine force. Even without his four stars, he commands respect and admiration from his students and staff.

It is the kind of respect that comes to a person who has "been there, done that" but lets others discover for themselves the lessons he already knows. Forceful and scientific in his approach, yet compassionate and non-judgmental - the personality of the program flows from him. He believes in teaching from the original works of primary philosophers such as Aristotle and Kant. ...more

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