Who is Lt Amanda Lee? The Blue Angels appoint its first female jet pilot to the squadron
The Blue Angels of the US Navy has appointed its first female demonstration pilot. Lt Amanda Lee will join the squadron as a F/A-18E/F demonstration pilot on Monday and is among the six new officers joining the Blue Angels Team for the 2023 air show season. This is not the first time that any woman has joined the Blue Angels, but no one has ever been selected as a demonstration pilot. Kate Higgins was the first woman to fly with the Blue Angels and was flying C-130 Fat Albert transport plan from 2014-2016.
Lee is a native of Mounds View, Minnesota, and attended university there. While pursuing her degree, she chose to enlist in the Navy. She enrolled in the Recruit Training Command in Illinois and graduated in 2007, as shared by the US Navy. She started her career as an aviation electronics technician and also participated in the Seaman-to-Admiral Commissioning Program. She got her commission and graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2013. Lee then joined the US Navy as a designated naval aviator in April 2016, paving the way for women in the air forces.
She also received the opportunity of being one of the nine female naval aviators to honor Rosemary Mariner, one of the first military pilots. Lee looks up to Mariner as an inspiration and says she pioneered the way for women in this sector. She is humbled to fly the very aircraft in which she worked as a maintainer. She told the New York Post, "It's because of women like Capt. Mariner that equal opportunity' won't be in our vocabulary in future generations."
The commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels, Capt. Brian Kesselring said that this year they received "an overwhelming number of applicants from all over the globe." He added, "We look forward to training our fantastic new team members, passing on the torch, and watching the incredible things this team will accomplish in 2023."
The appointing process includes selecting finalists from a huge list of applicants and then interviewing them during the week of the Pensacola Beach Air Show. This year, the show came to a conclusion on July 9, and all the selections were made on that day.