Mary Ottilie von Stein
March 16, 1976
Brandon Hegar(m. 2011)
|Education||University of Texas at Austin (BA, MBA)|
|Years of service||1999–2011|
Mary Jennings Hegar ( née von Stein;born 1976) is an American politician, Air Force veteran, businesswoman, and teacher. In 2017, she published the memoir Shoot Like a Girl, which describes her service in Afghanistan. She also sued the Air Force to remove the Combat Exclusion Policy. In July 2017, she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for United States House of Representatives to Texas's 31st congressional district. After winning the nomination, she was defeated by 3% by incumbent Republican John Carter. On April 23, 2019, Hegar announced her intention to challenge incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn.
When she was 7 years old, Hegar's mother, Grace, moved her and her sister from Fairfield, Connecticut to Cedar Park, Texas. 16 Hegar grew up in Cedar Park, where her mother remarried a Vietnam veteran, David Jennings, when she was 10 years old. :14–15:
Hegar attended Faubion Elementary School in Cedar Park and graduated from Leander High School in Leander, Texas.She was class president, was on the cheer squad, and played various sports including soccer.
In 1999, Hegar received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied criminology, sociology, philosophy, and world religions.While an undergraduate, she was Vice Wing Commander of Detachment 825 AFROTC and Deputy Commander, Arnold Air Society. In 2015, she graduated from Leadership Austin Essential Class. In 2016 she received an Executive MBA, also from the University of Texas at Austin.
In December 1999, Hegar was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force through ROTC at the University of Texas. From April 2000 to March 2004, she served on active duty as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. She was initially stationed at Misawa Air Force Base in Misawa, Aomori, in the northern part of the island of Honshū of Japan. She was also stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Missouri, about an hour east-southeast of Kansas City, Missouri. At Whiteman, Hegar worked on the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Her maintenance career culminated in responsibility for 75% of all B-2 maintenance as a Captain and selection as the Company Grade Officer of the Year for 2003.
In 2004, Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard. Upon completion of her training at the top of her class, she served two deployments to Afghanistan, flying Combat Search and Rescueon over 100 missions as well as Medevac missions as a helicopter pilot. As a member of the California Air National Guard, she worked as a pilot and trainer at the San Jose, California-based Counterdrug Task Force from 2007 to 2011.
In addition to the deployments to Afghanistan during the Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan, Hegar flew marijuana eradication missions, wildfire suppression with buckets of water on cargo slings, performed pilot duties in evacuating survivors from hurricane-devastated cities, and rescued many civilians on civil search and rescue missions in California and at sea.
On July 29, 2009, on her third tour to Afghanistan, Hegar, who went by the call sign Pedro 15,was shot down on a Medevac mission near Kandahar and sustained wounds during a conflict with the Taliban. She was operating as a combat search and rescue helicopter co-pilot on loan to the U.S. Army for the Medevac mission. Taliban ground forces shot at the helicopter, which disabled her helicopter, and wounded her with shrapnel in her arm and leg. Although injured, Hegar and her pilot were able to rescue the soldiers but under further heavy fire, the helicopter was forced to conduct an emergency landing. U.S. Army helicopter were able to rescue her, her team, and the other soldiers, but because the rescue helicopter was full, she and others had to fly out on holding on to the wheel of the Blackhawk. On the way up out of the area, she saw insurgents and returned fire towards the area where she saw muzzle flashes, demonstrating her excellent marksmanship.
Hegar was awarded the Purple Heart in December 2009.Her actions on this mission earned her the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device in 2011. She was one of the few women to receive this medal after Amelia Earhart. In 2016, she described a 2007 mission to medevac a child in great detail in a TEDx Talks presentation.
Due to the restriction of the Combat Exclusion Policy on women applying for ground combat positions, and because she was medically disqualified from flying due to a serious back injury sustained during the 2009 mission,Hegar transitioned out of the Air National Guard and became a Reservist Liaison.
Hegar relocated to Austin in 2010 and worked as a program manager at Seton Healthcare Family, a position she held until 2015. From 2015 to 2017, she worked at Dell Computers as a consultant.
Hegar has taught at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business as well as at UT in the ROTC and Women's Studies departments. She has mentored cadets at the universityand has served on the AFROTC Advisory Committee.
Hegar has worked as an executive coach and consultant. She writes and speaks publicly about her experiences in the military and her fight to put women in combat, which she calls “equality”, and claims will increase military readiness.[ citation needed ]
In March 2017, Hegar's memoir, Shoot Like a Girl, was published by the Berkley Books imprint of Penguin Books, in a new military division called Caliber.In 2016, it was announced that the movie rights to the book were optioned by TriStar Pictures, with Angelina Jolie reportedly in negotiations for the lead role.
On July 6, 2017, Hegar announced that she would be running to be the Democratic nominee for the United States Representative in Texas's 31st congressional district.She won the Democratic nomination. She was defeated by 3% by incumbent John Carter in the November 2018 elections. She said that she thinks the political leaders for this district need to be more reflective of the population served, and notes that the district has more military personnel living there than in 97% of the districts in the rest of the country.
In June 2018, Hegar released a short form political ad called "Doors" that described her career in the military, which included her being shot down in Afghanistan.The video went viral and drew the attention of celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Shortly after the mission where Hegar was wounded in Afghanistan, due to the military's Combat Exclusion Policy, while she had not been previously barred from air combat as a pilot, she was medically disqualified from flying. She was automatically excluded from applying for combat positions that would have moved her military career forward.She was barred from cross-training for a ground combat position (like a special tactics officer) despite her expertise as a pilot, which had it not been for her gender would have been a next step.
In 2012, Hegar was the lead plaintiff alongside former U.S. Marine Corps Captain Zoe Bedell, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Colleen Farrell, U.S. Army Reserves Staff Sergeant Jennifer Hunt, and the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) in a legal suit filed against the then U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asserting that the Combat Exclusion Policy was unconstitutional.Hegar said that the suit was about military effectiveness and would provide a larger pool of applicants to the military commanders. The assertion was not upheld, but the policy, implemented in 1994, was repealed in January 2013 for political reasons.
In 2011, Hegar married Brandon Hegar, who she knew from high school. She and her family live in Round Rock, Texas, a town outside of Austin, Texas.She has two sons as well as stepchildren from her husband's prior marriage.
Hegar has many tattoos, which were prominently featured in her 2018 viral campaign ad video, "Doors."She told Megyn Kelly during an interview on the Today Show that the cherry blossom tattoo on her shoulder was a way to cover up the shrapnel scar tissue that she had there, an idea to take control and make those wounds beautiful. The video also featured the domestic violence by her father that she and her mother and sister experienced when she was young.
Operation Eagle Claw, known as Operation Tabas in Iran, was a United States Armed Forces operation ordered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter to attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staff held captive at the Embassy of the United States, Tehran on 24 April 1980. Its failure, and the humiliating public debacle that ensued, damaged U.S. prestige worldwide. Carter blamed his loss in the 1980 U.S. presidential election mainly on his failure to secure the release of the hostages.
The United States Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), abbreviated as 160th SOAR (A), is a special operations force of the United States Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and special operations forces. Its missions have included attack, assault, and reconnaissance, and these missions are usually conducted at night, at high speeds, low altitudes, and on short notice.
The Air Force Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Cross is the Air Force decoration equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross (Army), the Navy Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.
The United States Air Force Security Forces (SF) are the ground defense force and military police service of the U.S. Air Force. The Security Forces (SF) were formerly known as Military Police (MP), Air Police (AP), and Security Police (SP) at various points in its history. Due to its significant ground combat mission, the Security Forces are sometimes regarded as integral infantry within the Air Force.
The Afghan Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the Afghan Armed Forces. It is divided into four wings, with the 1st Wing at Kabul, the 2nd Wing at Kandahar, the 3rd Wing at Shindand, and the 4th Wing at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. Mohammad Dawran has served as Chief of Staff of the Afghan Air Force and Major General Abdul Wahab Wardak as the Afghan Air Force Commander. The command center of the Afghan Air Force is located at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The Shindand Air Base in Herat Province serves as the main training facility.
Teed Michael "Buzz" Moseley is a retired United States Air Force general who served as the 18th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He is a fighter pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in fighters and trainers, most in the F-15 Eagle.
Duane D. Hackney, of Flint, Michigan, a United States Air Force Pararescueman, was the most decorated enlisted man in USAF history and the recipient of 28 decorations for valor in combat and more than 70 awards and decorations in all. He served in the Air Force from 1965 to 1991, retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant. A recipient of the Air Force Cross, he was the first living enlisted man to receive the medal, and at the time of its award he was its youngest recipient.
The Battle of Takur Ghar was a short but intense military engagement between United States special operations forces and al-Qaeda insurgents fought in March 2002, atop Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan. For the U.S. side, the battle proved the deadliest entanglement of Operation Anaconda, an effort early in the War in Afghanistan to rout al-Qaeda forces from the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains. The battle saw three helicopter landings by the U.S. on the mountain top, each greeted by direct assault from al-Qaeda forces. Although Takur Ghar was eventually taken, seven U.S. service members were killed and many wounded. The battle is also known as the Battle of Roberts Ridge, after the first casualty of the battle, Navy SEAL Neil C. Roberts.
Colonel Merryl Tengesdal is the first and only African American woman to fly the United States Air Force's U-2 spy plane which is used for specialized high-altitude reconnaissance missions.
The 563rd Rescue Group is a United States Air Force unit stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The group also controls the rescue squadrons at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. It is assigned to the 355th Wing. The group directs flying operations dedicated to personnel recovery and is part of Air Combat Command. The group was activated under its current designation at Davis-Monthan AFB in 2003 to command rescue units in the western United States.
On 6 August 2011, a U.S. CH-47D Chinook military helicopter operating with the call sign Extortion 17 was shot down while transporting an Immediate Reaction Force attempting to reinforce a Joint Special Operations Command unit of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the Tangi Valley in Maidan Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan. The resulting crash killed all 38 people on board - 25 American special operations personnel, one pilot and two crewmen of the United States Army Reserve, one pilot and one crewman of the United States Army National Guard, seven members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and one Afghan interpreter, as well as a U.S. military working dog. At 31 American military personnel killed, the shoot down of Extortion 17 represents the greatest single-incident loss of American lives in Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, surpassing the sixteen lost in the downing of Turbine 33, a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) MH-47, during Operation Red Wings on 28 June 2005.
The 21st Special Tactics Squadron is one of the special tactics units of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command. It is garrisoned at Pope Field, North Carolina.
Jeannie Marie Leavitt is a United States Air Force general officer. She became the United States Air Force's first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.
Niloofar Rahmani is the first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan's history and the first female pilot in the Afghan Air Force since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Though her family received death threats, she persevered to complete her training and won the U.S. State Department's International Women of Courage Award in 2015.
There have been women in the United States Air Force since 1948, and women continue to serve in it today.
The 2020 United States Senate election in Texas will be held on November 3, 2020, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of Texas, concurrently with the 2020 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.
Latifa Nabizada is an Afghan helicopter pilot in the Afghan Air Force. She is one of the first two women pilots to serve in Afghanistan that were qualified to fly a Mi-17 helicopter. By 2013, she was a colonel in the new Afghan Air Force. Nabizada's own career in the Afghan military has inspired other women to join.
Amy M. McGrath is an American former Marine fighter pilot and political candidate. She was the first female Marine Corps pilot to fly the F/A-18 on a combat mission. McGrath served for 20 years in the Marine Corps during which time she flew 89 combat missions bombing al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In 2016, she was inducted into the Aviation Museum of Kentucky's Hall of Fame and her military story is described in Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq.
John A. Chapman was a Combat Controller in the United States Air Force who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on August 22, 2018 for his actions in the Battle of Takur Ghar during the War in Afghanistan. He is the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
Aviator: Capt. Mary Jennings, 129th RQS