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Kara Hultgreen -- death of a fighter pilot

Amazon books had these reviews of a book about the first Navy's fighter pilot:

Call Sign Revlon : The Life and Death of Navy Fighter Pilot Kara Hultgreen by Sally Spears

A reader from Maryland , September 4, 1999 Mixes fact with fiction. As one of the O-4's mentioned in the book in a not too kindly manner, I found the book interesting. The writer did not always get her facts straight with the events with which I am personally familiar which makes me wonder about the rest of the book. Be that as it may, the book tells the story of a misguided lady who had no business flying Navy jets. Kara had such a big chip on her shoulder that she could not discern constructive criticism from good natured ribbing or just nit picking remarks from those who might not like women in the military no matter how good they are. In short, she never knew her own limitations and pressed the envelope before she was ready. Somebody should have stood tall and stopped her, but they didn't. It wasn't a matter of if she was going to have an accident, it was a matter of when. from Chicago, IL , August 2, 1999 Feminism Vs. the Navy Why did Kara Hultgreen die? She died because the Feminist lobby in America had to have a female Navy fighter pilot. The fact that she was not ready to flight off a carrier was less important than the desire to have her do so. Are others to blame as well? Yes, clearly the Navy deserves some blame for caving in, but their image concerning women was so damaged by Tailhook that they were willing to do what the Feminists wanted.

A reader from Denver, CO , July 31, 1999 A Death That Didn't Have to Happen Lt. Hultgreen is a woman who died for a cause. The cause of Feminism. She was someone who was pushed through the system quickly so that the Navy could attempt to improve it's image after the Tailhook Scandal. Lt. Hultgreen did not need to die, and both the Navy brass and the Feminist lobby in America are equally responsible for her death.

A reader from Long Beach, CA , May 17, 1999 A well-written, informative book. Sally Spears did an excellent job of writing this book. With regard to the content, I don't think Kara was given any special treatment to help her become a fighter pilot. Kara was a focused, goal-oriented individual. I can imagine the kind of hell she had to go through to become an F-14 driver. I recommend this book to anyone. God Bless you, Kara.

A reader from NAS Fallon, Nevada , April 24, 1999 This is trash: I know I was there I was on the LSO platform that night just off the coast of San Diego. I was not the LSO in charge as I was only a Junior Officer at the time. However if you could have seen what I saw that night and the way that F-14 was moveing you would have agreed that no matter who the pilot was, they had no business in that aircraft. She was pushed through training way to fast. The F-14 is a very unforgiving aircraft. For those of you out there who have ever staled the engine on an F-14 you'll know what I'm talking about.

I'll be honest with you. I dont care if theres female pilots or not. I know several of them who make good pilots. I know several who say Hulgreen should never have been there. I agree because that night was the first time I'd ever seen a person die from an air crash. It sent chills down my spine. Its to bad she didnt have to die.

A reader

from Poway, California, USA , April 11, 1999 Good example of feminism run amok. Very poor writing. The book is obviously tilted towards showing how Ms. Hultgren was as good a pilot as any male. Never mind the fact that if a male had four downs he was history. Writing is extremely shoddy with no references to sources. A very poor book. Ms. Hultgren deserves much better.

A reader from San Francisco , April 10, 1999 Untrue This book leaves out what reporters have revealed - below average pilot ratings in the performance records. A bad pilot is a bad pilot, no matter the gender. The author blames the airplane, the Navy, everybody but a pilot who should never have been allowed to fly. There are many excellent female pilots but this was not one of them. The Navy _is_ responsible for not washing her out. A totally irresponsible book that never touches the real story of cockpit incompetence and how few officers tried to stand-up against policies that caused a bad pilot to endanger her ship and crew. from Oklahoma City , April 5, 1999 A feminist whitewash It reads like a novel, that's my first problem with "Call Sign Revlon." The author frequently drops into dialogue and present tense narrative leaving me confused as to the source of those quotes and actions as most lack substantiation. The endnotes are a meer page and one-half which has a bearing on believability. Some naval officers reputations are shreaded and I had no clue as to the author's source.

Second, and this is why I call it a feminist whitewash, is Lt. Hultgreen's F14 flight training. Her records were leaked to the press and the public discovered she had four "downs" enough to washout a male pilot. Facts that were not mentioned as the entire point of this book is to prove that Kara Hultgreen had the right stuff and could fly with the best male pilots. Knowing the truth about her F14 training makes me think that this book is a whitewash.

Marc A. Reider ( from Suburban Philadelphia, PA , January10, 1999 Intense and Revealing Sally Speers has, without a doubt, written a very revealing account of her daughter's odyssey through the rigors and challenges of Naval Aviation. From her years as a little girl with an incredible will - straight through to her every day challenges in VAQ-33 at Key West and on to her final assignment in a fleet air wing with the Black Lions. It is not hard to see where Lt. Kara Hultgreen got her courage and determination. It is through reading the book that one can appreciate these traits in both the real character of Kara Hultgreen as well as her mother, the author. It is through her mother's raw strength and determination, that she has written an account that reveals for us what aspiring female aviators must endure in today's Navy. And she did all of this in a factual way in the shadow of the grief of losing a daughter. I for one, couldn't put the book down! Thank-you Kara, for your strong will, sense of duty to country, love of flying and your ultimate sacrifice. Thank-you Sally, for sharing your daughter with us . . .

A reader from New York City , January 10, 1999 She expected the right to try. Kara Hultgreen sounds like the young woman we of the previous generation hoped our daughters would be: not expecting extra privileges but fully expecting the right to try anything they wanted to try.

A reader from US , December 31, 1998 The story of the life & death of the first woman F-14 pilot. The book is an account of the U.S. Navy's first female F-14 pilot. She dealt with countless obstacles to fly her dream plane-the F-14. Although she dies tragically due to disputed causes, she is an inspiration to all who aspire to break gender barriers or fight for equality. Unlike many nonfiction books, this book is fascinating reading since it is written by a mother telling about a daughter she lost, her regrets, her insights, and her attempts to understand why her daughter would put up with all the many obstacles to be the first woman F-14 pilot in the Navy.

A reader from Burbank, California , November 2, 1998 Excellent. If Kara Hultgreen had been a man, she would have been just one more competitive, headstrong Navy aviator with an annoying "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude. As a woman determined to fly F-18s, she wasn't just one more of anything, and through both her presence in male-dominated units and a willingness to engage the media in her struggle, stood forward as a challenge to historic sex roles in the Navy. In doing so, of course, she made life much more difficult for herself and those around her. Her biography, written by her mother attorney Sally Spears, benefits from access to letters and journals, as well as many interviews from instructors and squadron-mates. Spears had decidedly mixed feelings about her daughter's desires to fly in harm's way; this book is not so much a plea for women to become combat pilots as it is a story (and defense) of a woman who became one. Whether or not you want to see women flying into battle, this book shows that some women will have the desire and ability. If you think that Lt. Hultgreen was unqualified and got special treatment, you have to overcome the evidence presented in CALL SIGN REVLON that if anything she was held to a tougher standard. A "must-read" for anyone interested in women in the military, and a strong recommendation for anyone interested in the Navy or combat aviation.