Lt. Kara Spears 'Revlon' Hultgreen (1965-1994)

Pilot : F-14 Tomcat. First US female fighter pilot killed in the line of duty

hultgreen_spears_200.jpg Lt. Kara Spears 'Revlon' Hultgreen

Like many American teens who grew up in the Space Age, Kara Hultgreen was in high school when she decided she wanted to be an astronaut.

To reach that goal, she concluded she needed to obtain either a pilot's license or a Ph.D., recalled her mother, San Antonio lawyer Sally Spears.

"But Kara loved speed, so she decided the best way (to become an astronaut) was to be a pilot," Spears said.

The Alamo Heights High School graduate won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. But when she failed to receive a designated spot, she enrolled instead at the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving a degree in aerospace engineering from UT, Hultgreen attended naval aviation officer candidate school in Pensacola, Fla. She eventually wound up in Key West, Florida, flying A-6 Intruders. ...more


Lt. Kara Spears 'Revlon' Hultgreen

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Navy recovers plane wreckage from ocean

23 December 1994. The U.S. Navy Wednesday recovered the wreckage of the F-14 Tomcat flown by Lieutenant Kara Hultgreen, the United States' first woman carrier fighter pilot who was killed at sea October 25, 1994 in a landing accident 50 miles off San Diego.

The accident occurred as Hultgreen, 29, was making a final approach to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln after a routine flight from Miramar Naval Air Station, her home base. Both she and her radar intercept officer, Lieutenant Matthew Klemish, ejected, but only he survived.

Because the plane rolled onto its back as it went out of control, Hultgreen was ejected directly into the sea and was killed instantly. Her body was recovered November 12 in 3,700 feet of water not far from the sunken jet. She was buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. ...more

hultgreen_spears_150.jpg Spears, Sally
Call Sign Revlon: The Life and Death of Navy Fighter Pilot Kara Hultgreen

Lt. Kara Hultgreen was just twenty-nine and the U.S. Navy's first fully qualified female fleet fighter pilot when her F-14 Tomcat slammed into the Pacific Ocean in October 1994.

Her death was not only a tragic loss to her family but a serious blow to a Navy struggling to redefine the roll of women in its ranks.

The image of this beautiful and vibrant young woman with her fierce warplane -- plastered across the front pages of newspapers around the world after the crash -- provoked strong emotions and gave new life to the controversy.

From the Dustjacket


Sally Spears : Call Sign Revlon

Lt. Kara S. Hultgreen

Four years ago, pioneering Navy F-14 fighter pilot Kara Hultgreen died in a crash in the Pacific Ocean. A new book by her mother celebrates the young San Antonian's exuberant life and shing legacy. But for somefemale aviators, the book rekindles anger over male pilots' hostility toward women fliers and attacks on Hultgreen after her death. Feature writer Marina Pisano followed Hultgreen's career from 1991.

The voice on the telephone conveyed so much - barely contained elation, pride of achievement, and running through it all the kind of wry humor that never failed to break up her friends and ease stress in the white-knuckle profession that defined the very word.

"And, all of a sudden, you're (on the aircraft carrier) starting up the jet next to an S-3 and two inches away, there's an F-18 and inches from him, there's an A-6. And you take off ... It's really exciting ... because I remember a little over a year ago, people were telling me, you're never going to be there. It's kind of awesome."

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