Military Needs Women: Navy’s 1st Female Fighter Jet Pilot

The U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 tomcat fighter pilot advised women to be “fearless” and “go all in” because the military needs women in leadership roles.

In the mid-1990's Carey Lohrenz accomplished something no other woman had done before. She told NBC 7 Wednesday that she didn't think twice about pursuing her passion to become a Navy pilot.

The daughter of a U.S. Marine says growing up she believed she could do anything but being a trailblazer in a field of men wasn't an easy ride.

“I always came from a position of, the jet doesn't know the difference, so why is this such a big deal,” said Lohrenz.

But apparently it was a big deal to her fellow Navy pilots who weren't ready to welcome in a woman combat pilot.

“Stepping into naval aviation it was about a hundred years of entrenched strong culture,” Lohrenz said.

A culture that created an atmosphere that wasn't very friendly to female pilots and Lohrenz says it never got easier.

Courtesy Carey Lohrenz

While she knows women still have to break through many barriers she told women at the Farmers Insurance Open Executive Women’s Day luncheon in La Jolla to be fearless.

Women must push forward in combat and leaderships roles because the military needs women, she explained.

“From a numbers perspective, first of all, but more importantly women problem solve differently,” she said. “We bring different assets and attributes to the table.”

Her message to women in fields like technology, politics, and business is not to wait until you think you are ready for the next big thing to grab an opportunity, because most men don't.

“At the end of the day when you start questioning that voice that says I am not ready yet, go all in,” she said.

Lohrenz believes when you push past those limits, that is when the magic happens.

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