First woman Marine One pilot wraps up tour of duty

July 17, 2009

The first female pilot of Marine One — Major Jennifer Grieves — wrapped up her last day of duty Thursday with a special tribute — an all-woman crew.

OBAMA/Grieves, of Glendale, Arizona, flew President Obama from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base for his trip to New Jersey and New York, where he spoke at rallies for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and addressed the centennial celebration of the NAACP.

Grieves was designated the helicopter aircraft commander of Marine One in May 2008 and has flown Obama and former President George W. Bush on numerous occasions, the White House said.

Grieves reported for duty to Marine Helicopter Squadron One in October 2005, the second female pilot assigned to the unit.

In honor of her accomplishment, Marine One flew with an all-woman crew on Thursday.

Major Jennifer Marino of Palisade, Colorado, was the co-pilot. Sergeant Rachael A. Sherman of Traverse City, Michigan, was crew chief.

Marino was the third woman pilot assigned to the squadron and was designated a White House Aircraft Commander in February 2009. She has another two years of duty.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Grieves lands her last flight at the White House Thursday)

7 comments

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This makes me very happy. My generation graduated high school in the 60′s. Our occupation choices were: nurse, secretary or teacher. My coworkers and I experienced discrimination and saw men get preferential treatment.

THIS is a great story! WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY! How far we have come! I hope young girls everywhere see this story and reach for the stars.

Posted by Carol | Report as abusive

Amen. My husband was a mechanic for Marine One in the Nixon days. The clearance alone is an accomplishment. I agree, Way to go Ladies. We are Proud……

Posted by Jeanne Williams | Report as abusive

While it’s great to see a woman flying the President’s helicopter, a woman helicopter pilot is not a big deal. I’m a woman helicopter pilot and I know plenty of others, some of whom got their training in the military and others, like me, who made their own careers through hard work in the private sector.

The only thing holding back women these days is the attitude that they’re “different” or that things are “harder” for them because of their gender. Get over it, ladies! This is the 21st century. Stop thinking about “the old days” and get down to work. It’s your own minds holding you back. Major Grieves is just part of the proof of that.

PBS’s The American Experience has a great episode called “Fly Girls”. Highly recommended.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Well, I see it as a generational thing. I’m proud to see my sisters doing things that my generation only dreamed of. This is a development to be proud of, and I want my part in feeling proud that the gap we suffered in the ’60s and ’70s is disappearing now. For younger women, this is “no big deal” and is sad, because relating themselves to the long story of women’s equality can only make them stronger.
It’s not “your mind is holding you back”! it is because when you get to be educated enough to be in a position to fight for your job, either you are too old or little connected or whatever….Many of the women left behind by discrimination have the right to be proud of the gains, even if they themselves are part of the ones better prepared but never hired.
There are things holding us up, and it would be silly to ignore them; there is work to be done to get to equality,
and there is a real gap in terms of income that both genders have to work on healing.

Posted by Nora Curtis | Report as abusive

I met a previous Marine Corps 1 pilot at the BOQ Officers Club in the late 1960′s. His face had been severely burned from an earlier crash in Korea. I was so impressed by his stalwart nature, that no pressure could make him flinch. Always faithful.

Posted by Jim Pecore | Report as abusive

>>The only thing holding back women these days is the attitude that they’re “different” or that things are “harder” for them because of their gender. Get over it, ladies!

While I agree with you, I think what’s holding women back is the indoctrination they – and men – receive every single day at the hands of mass media. Commercials, those geared for kids and those geared for adults, tell females, over and over again, that they are on this earth for one purpose only, to be sex objects for men. So they’d better not be fat and they’d better wear short shorts and revealing shirts. These same commercials tell kids that *they* are the smart ones, and need to teach their parents everything, and that the *husband* is the dumb one who is just their to provide money for mom and kids to spend.