A Decorated Woman Fighter Pilot Competes to Fill Gabby Giffords Seat
Martha McSally has announced her candidacy for Arizona's 8th Congressional District, one that has been held by Rep. (D) Gabrielle Giffords until her recent resignation.
The late writer David Westheimer first introduced us to Colonel Martha McSally in 2002 with the article, Women in Blue, followed by Women in Blue: Round II and finally, More Martha. She also earned a mention in another popular SeniorWomen.com article, Killer Chick, about Captain Kim Campbell, another fighter pilot, with 120 combat hours in the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
In 1988, McSally attended the United States Air Force Academy and went on to complete a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard's JFK School of Government. She earned her wings at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas and was assigned to an operational A-10 squadron, deploying to Kuwait in January 1995.
In July 2004, she took command of the A-10 equipped 354th Fighter Squadron, and was subsequently assigned to Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom where she employed weapons in combat for the first time. In 2005, McSally and her squadron were awarded the David C. Shilling Award, given by the Air Force Association for the best aerospace contribution to national defense.
Originally from Rhode Island, Martha retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel in 2010. She has made her home in Tucson for a number of years, first arriving in the Old Pueblo in 1994, the first of her four assignments to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Before resigning to run for office, Martha was Professor of National Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany where she taught and mentored senior government officials from all over the world in international and national security issues.
An Air Force officer who worked for Colonel McSally offers an opinion of his former boss:
"McSally became an inspiration because she demonstrated that doing what she thought was right still came first. She told us how she agonized over her decision to sue the DoD; it took a lot of courage on her part to put her fast-tracked career on the line to oppose the establishment that she was very much a part of. How sweet that vindication must have felt when she not only won, she later was promoted to Colonel. I observed the way the Generals respected her opinion — because they knew she would tell them the truth (supported factually) rather than worry about trying to impress them only to further her career. I'm sure she'll infuse that same integrity into a role in Congress."
Martha McSally wants to bring her extensive track record of leadership, moral courage and public service to the people of Southern Arizona. "It's time we stopped talking and starting making our government work again," said McSally, "When I see something messed up, I fix it. And right now, we have a lot of work to do."