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Martha McSally      

Former Senator of Arizona; First Female Fighter Pilot to Fly In Combat

Senator Martha McSally has proudly represented the people of Arizona in the United States Senate since January 2019. She is also the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, and the first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history. She previously represented Arizona’s second congressional district for four years in the United States House of Representatives.

Prior to serving in Congress, Senator McSally served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 2010 as a full Colonel. She is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history. McSally attracted national recognition in 2001-2002 for her successful fight to overturn a military policy which ordered all U.S. servicewomen to wear a Muslim abaya and abaya headscarf when off base in Saudi Arabia. After attempts to change the policy for over seven years within the Department of Defense, she put her career on the line and filed a lawsuit. She then worked with members of Congress and the non-profit Rutherford Institute to draft and gain support for legislation to overturn the policy. The legislation she tirelessly shepherded was unanimously passed as a free standing bill in the House, an amendment to the yearly defense bill in the Senate, and signed by the President in December 2002.

She was selected as one of seven active duty Air Force officers for the Legislative Fellowship program. Back to the world of public policy, she had the privilege of working for Senator Jon Kyl as a member of his defense and foreign affairs team on Capitol Hill. She advised Senator Kyl on a variety of national and international security issues including missile defense, cyber security, and terrorism.

McSally was a Rhodes Scholarship regional finalist and a White House Fellowship National Finalist. She was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Rhode Island College and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Center on Women in Policing. The Freedom Forum named Martha as one of three national winners of the 2002 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Award.

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