MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Two decades ago, Lt. Col. Sarah M. Deal became the first female Marine selected for Naval aviation training, and subsequently the Marine Corps’ first female aviator in 1993.
Deal had already earned her pilot’s license the year before while attending Kent State University where she earned Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace flight technology.
Deal began her career as an air traffic control officer, but in 1993 when U.S. military policy changed to allow women to fly combat aircraft, she requested a school seat.
That July, Deal was selected for training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., where she began flight training in the T-34C Turbo Mentor. She moved on to helicopter training in the TH-57 Sea Ranger and earned aviator’s wings on April 21, 1995.
Deal was later assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466 as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot. She completed her active duty service in 2004 and transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve.
In May of 2006, she joined Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 769 where she served as reserve CH-53E pilot.
Deal currently serves as a reserve support officer at Recruiting Station Lansing, Mich.