A few months before my first son was born in 2003, I packed away my flight gear in the basement, wondering about the legacy I’d pass down to him. I imagined him one day proudly telling his friends, “My mom flew jets in the Navy, and she even ejected out of one over the Atlantic Ocean!” I envisioned him piloting a make-believe airplane, wearing my helmet and one of my flight suits, asking me what it was like to fly low and fast through mountains or to tell him again what a “kick in the pants” it was to be catapulted off an aircraft carrier. Then, in the next breath, ask me to make his favorite dessert.
I was part of a unique and intrepid group of military women aviators. I wondered about the path that led other women to the military and to aviation. What inspired them? Were they born with a desire for adventure? Or just wanted something different for themselves, a nontraditional job, something out of the norm? Maybe a teacher or parent inspired them to dream big, take a chance or go down a different path. Perhaps some grew up around the military or aviation and desired to serve themselves? Did some know from a very young age that the sky was their home and where they were meant to be?
How have these other women balanced family and a military career? I wondered. What types of career, family, and life decisions have to be made to make it all work? What stories would they tell their children? I interviewed more than one hundred of my fellow sister aviators—all moms—from every military service, asking each to tell me her story—her path to the military and flying, combat experiences, her joys in being a mom, how she balances family and career, the advice and encouragement she would give to other women seeking a military or aviation career, and the legacy she wants to pass down.
Finally in 2012, Military Fly Moms was published after several years of gathering all the stories and photographs. The women of Military Fly Moms and I are so proud of the book and excited to share our stories with both young and old..and we look forward to passing down a unique legacy to our own children and hope to inspire future generations.
Author note: In addition to being an author, Ms. Maloney is a motivational speaker providing a variety of key note addresses and presentations. Since leaving the military in 2004 after a 20 year career, Ms. Maloney has been involved in defense program management, systems engineering, and leadership positions. She current works as a Senior System Engineer for Rite Solutions in Middletown, RI supporting the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. She and her husband, Dan, have a grown daughter and two young sons.
Visit Linda Maloney for more information.