Wow, Jet Girl was easily one of the most addictive memoirs I have ever had the experience of reading. I have greatly enjoyed reading military books, including Lone Survivor, American Sniper, and even American Wife by Taya Kyle. Interestingly, most of the military books I’ve read, including this one, have centered around the Navy. I find it fascinating to learn about life in the military and in war from first-person accounts, without the filter of the news making stories safer for our sensitive civilian ears. Jet Girl did that and eons more. I found this to be an extremely important and educational read!
A fresh, unique insider’s view of what it’s like to be a woman aviator in today’s US Navy—from pedicures to parachutes.
Caroline Johnson was an unlikely aviation candidate. A tall blonde debutante from Colorado, she could have just as easily gone into fashion or filmmaking, and yet she went on to become an F/A-18 Super Hornet Weapons System Officer. She was one of the first women to fly a combat mission over Iraq since 2011, and she was the first woman to drop bombs on ISIS.
Jet Girl tells the remarkable story of the women fighting at the forefront in a military system that allows them to reach the highest peaks, and yet is in many respects still a fraternity. Johnson offers an insider’s view on the fascinating, thrilling, dangerous and, at times, glamorous world of being a naval aviator.
This is a coming-of age story about a young college-aged girl who draws strength from a tight knit group of friends, called the Jet Girls, and struggles with all the ordinary problems of life: love, work, catty housewives, father figures, make-up, wardrobe, not to mention being put into harm’s way daily with terrorist groups such as ISIS and world powers such as Russia and Iran.
Some of the most memorable parts of the book are about real life in training, in the air and in combat—how do you deal with having to pee in a cockpit the size of a bumper car going 900 miles an hour?
Not just a memoir, this book also aims to change the conversation and to inspire and attract the next generation of men and women who are tempted to explore a life of adventure and service.
There were so many fascinating elements to this memoir — simply being able to learn a bit what military pilots and weapons system officers do was incredibly enlightening. The amount of education required and the level of intelligence these people possess amazed me! This career path is not for the faint of heart and it makes me thankful a few special folks have the ability to withstand the mental and physical taxing it takes to sit in the cockpits of these jets.
One of the things I always find interesting about military books is just how much red tape our military has to cut through just to do their jobs. They can be over 8,000 miles away from Washington, but people behind their safe desks still are somehow in the backseat. Thinking about how much cruelty our military witnessed at the hands of ISIS, including mass-drownings, beheadings, and killings of children, but were powerless to stop it because someone in Washington didn’t authorize it astounds me.
My only real complaint about this book was the constant switching between the past and present. I think it would have benefitted the storytelling to have been in chronological order. There were also a few times of technical talk or military-speak that wasn’t exactly explained, which was confusing.
One reviewer mentioned this book wouldn’t do much for the treatment of women in the military, but I vehemently disagree. I think Caroline Johnson’s (and the rest of the Jet Girls) whole career was a pioneering endeavor that produced changes in the thoughts and actions of many men in the military. A few scenes reflected such injustice, that I was fuming right along with Caroline. I imagine toeing the line between being respectful, as the military demands, and fighting for change was extremely difficult in many cases throughout her career. The final scene in the epilogue showed that some are determined to make the military a place that is truly equal for women, however. Unfortunately, there were a few instances, still, that came across as slightly over-the-top in negativity or even whiny about her treatment. I haven’t lived in her shoes, though, so I can imagine even the smallest amounts of unfairness would eventually build into something much more difficult to tackle daily.
Overall, I found Jet Girl to be completely thought-provoking, interesting, and informational. I read the majority of this book in one sitting, which is quite uncommon for me when diving into Nonfiction. I think civilians should consider reading this book or others like it to understand and develop a real appreciation for what our service members do for our country and our freedom.
Rating: 4 stars
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4 Comments Add yours
This sounds so good! 👍😍
Sounds like such a relevant read.
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Very much so!