First Female Fighter Pilot, Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, to Deliver NBAA-BACE Keynote

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has announced that U.S. Air Force Major General Jeannie M. Leavitt, who holds the distinction of being nation’s first female fighter pilot, will deliver the Day 2 Keynote on Oct. 23 at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), set for Oct. 22-24 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Leavitt is the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, TX. She oversees more than 3,445 airmen and civilians, and thousands of recruiting offices across the U.S. and abroad. She is responsible for all enlisted accessions and a variety of officer accession programs. She is featured in a compelling “Origin Story” video produced by the U.S. Air Force, focused on attracting women leaders into the service. 

“We are honored that Maj. Gen. Leavitt, a groundbreaking leader, will join us at NBAA-BACE to share with attendees her experiences,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO. “She is an inspiration, especially those in aviation who have worked to break down barriers of all types. She exemplifies the dedication to duty, and love of country and aviation, that our industry personifies.”

Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. She earned her commission as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. She became the nation’s first female fighter pilot in 1993, and is dedicated to creating a more balanced and diverse military to confront the challenges of a shifting international security landscape.

“I truly see diversity as a competitive advantage, Leavitt said in a 2018 TED Women Spotlight. “What we really want to get at is that diversity of thought. If I have people around the table who think differently, who have different backgrounds, then we’re going to come to a better solution – it’s going to take longer, there will be vastly different opinions, but we’re going to get to a better solution in the end.” View the TED Women Spotlight in its entirety.

She has served in a variety of flying, staff and command assignments, and has commanded at the flight, squadron and wing levels. 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 field experiences include operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Her major awards and decorations include the 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 and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

In addition to her illustrious military career, Leavitt worked with actress Brie Larson to prepare for Larson’s role as a fighter pilot in the Captain Marvel movie, where she was on set to help Larson during the Air Force-related shoots.