10 February 1994: First Lieutenant Jean Marie (“Jeannie”) Flynn, United States Air Force, the first woman selected by the Air Force for training as a combat pilot, completed six months of training on the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle with the 555th Fighter Wing (“Triple Nickel”) at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Her call sign is “Tally.”
The following is her official U.S. Air Force biography:
MAJOR GENERAL JEANNIE M. LEAVITT, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt is the Department of the Air Force Chief of Safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia, and Commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. She develops, executes and evaluates all Air and Space Forces’ aviation, ground, weapons, space and system mishap prevention and nuclear surety programs to preserve combat capability. Additionally, she directs research to promote safety awareness and mishap prevention, oversees mishap investigations, evaluates corrective actions and ensures implementation. Finally, she manages, develops and directs all safety and risk management courses.
Maj. Gen. Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas and her master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. She earned her commission as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. Maj. Gen. Leavitt has served in a variety of flying, staff and command assignments, and has commanded at the flight, squadron and wing level. She is a graduate and former instructor of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours. Her operational experiences include operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Prior to her current assignment, the general served as Director of Operations and Communications, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, where she was responsible for the world’s largest training organization, providing initial skills, undergraduate flying, post graduate combat crew and supplemental training for more than 300,000 Air Force, joint and international personnel at 65 Air Force and Department of Defense locations.
1990 Bachelor of Science, Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas, Austin
1991 Master of Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
1997 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1998 Weapons Instructor Course, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2002 Master of Business Administration, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
2004 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2004 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2010 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2010 Master of National Security Strategy, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2010 Leadership Development Program, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, N.C.
2012 Air Force Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
2012 Seminar XXI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
2021 Advanced Senior Leader Development Seminar, Warrenton, Va.
1. January 1992–March 1993, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas
2. March 1993–July 1993, T-38 Instructor Pilot Upgrade Trainee, Vance AFB, Okla.
3. July 1993 – April 1994, student, F-15E Formal Training Course, 555th Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Arizona
3. July 1993–April 1994, Student, F-15E Formal Training Course, 555th Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
4. April 1994–January 1998, Instructor Pilot, Training Officer, later Assistant Chief of Weapons, then Assistant Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
5. January 1998–July 1998, Student, U.S. Air Force Weapons Instructor Course, F-15E Division, Nellis AFB, Nev.
6. July 1998–June 2001, F-15E Instructor Pilot, Assistant Chief, then Chief of Weapons and Tactics, later Flight Commander, then Assistant Operations Officer, 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
7. June 2001–August 2003, F-15E Instructor Pilot, Wing Standardization and Evaluation Examiner, 57th Operations Group, later Academics Flight Commander, then Assistant Operations Officer for Academics, 17th Weapons Squadron, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
8. August 2003–July 2004, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
9. July 2004–September 2005, Chief of Special Technical Operations, U.S. Forces Korea, Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea
10. September 2005–April 2007, Chief of Master Air Attack Plans, 609th Combat Plans Squadron, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Shaw AFB, S.C.
11. April 2007–July 2009, Assistant Director of Operations, 334th Fighter Squadron, later Commander, 333rd Fighter Squadron, then Special Assistant to the 4th Operations Group Commander, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
12. July 2009–June 2010, Student, National War College, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
13. July 2010–May 2012, Air Force Chief of Staff Fellow, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.
14. June 2012–June 2014, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
15. June 2014–April 2016, Principal Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
16. April 2016–June 2018, Commander, 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, Nev.
17. June 2018–June 2020, Commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
18. June 2020–August 2021, Director of Operations and Communications, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
19. August 2021–present, Department of the Air Force Chief of Safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va., and Commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 2004–September 2005, Chief of Special Technical Operations, U.S. Forces Korea, Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea, as a major
2. July 2010–May 2012, Air Force Chief of Staff Fellow, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C., as a colonel
3. June 2014–April 2016, Principal Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,000, including over 300 combat hours
Aircraft flown: F-15E, T-37, T-38A and AT-38B
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
1997 Outstanding Young Texas Exes, The University of Texas at Austin
2009 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award, National Aeronautic Association
2018 Omar N. Bradley Spirit of Independence Award
2019 International Aviation Women’s Association, Wings Outstanding Aviator Award
2019 Harvard Business School, Executive Fellow in Executive Education
2019 Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Distinguished Alumni, The University of Texas at Austin
2020 Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductee
2021-2022 University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Graduate
(Current as of December 2022)
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION:
Second Lieutenant July 1, 1991
First Lieutenant July 1, 1993
Captain July 1, 1995
Major May 1, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2006
Colonel October 1, 2009
Brigadier General July 3, 2016
Major General September 2, 2019
The Strike Eagle was begun as a private venture by McDonnell Douglas. Designed to be operated by a pilot and a weapons system officer (WSO), the airplane can carry bombs, missiles and guns for a ground attack role, while maintaining its capability as an air superiority fighter. It’s airframe was a strengthened and its service life doubled to 16,000 flight hours. The Strike Eagle became an Air Force project in March 1981, and went into production as the F-15E. The first production model, 86-0183, made its first flight 11 December 1986.
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-place twin-engine multi-role fighter. It is 63 feet, 9 inches (19.431 meters) long with a wingspan of 42 feet, 9¾ inches (13.049 meters) and height of 18 feet, 5½ inches (5.626 meters). It weighs 31,700 pounds (14,379 kilograms) empty and has a maximum takeoff weight of 81,000 pounds (36,741 kilograms).
The Strike Eagle has a maximum speed of Mach 2.54 (1,676 miles per hour, (2,697 kilometers per hour) at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters) and is capable of sustained speed at Mach 2.3 (1,520 miles per hour, 2,446 kilometers per hour). Its service ceiling is 60,000 feet (18,288 meters). The fighter-bomber has a combat radius of 790 miles (1,271 kilometers) and a maximum ferry range of 2,765 miles (4,450 kilometers).
Though optimized as a fighter-bomber, the F-15E Strike Eagle retains an air-to-air combat capability. The F-15E is armed with one 20mm M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel rotary cannon with 512 rounds of ammunition, and can carry four AIM-9M Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and four AIM-7M Sparrow radar-guided missiles, or a combination of Sidewinders, Sparrows and AIM-120 AMRAAM long range missiles. It can carry a maximum load of 24,500 pounds (11,113 kilograms) of bombs and missiles for ground attack.
© 2020, Bryan R. Swopes