Shoot like a girl One woman's dramatic fight in Afghanistan and on the home front

Mary Jennings Hegar

Book - 2017

"On June 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve... After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top... of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan, flying combat search-and-rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device. But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge--to eliminate the military's Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their long-standing record of doing so with honor. In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the reader on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice."--Jacket flap.

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Review by Booklist Reviews

Hegar knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up: a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Though she pushed herself and excelled in her training, she found that although some superiors and fellow officers treated her no differently because of her gender, others singled her out for criticism and, in one case, sexual assault. Not one to be deterred, Hegar pressed on, even after she wasn't selected as a pilot, working her way up to the rank of captain. She finally received her wings and was sent to Afghanistan to fly rescue missions. Hegar didn't just face off against enemy combatants; after a recurring knee injury sidelined her, she joined an ACLU-led lawsuit against the military to allow women to serve in combat. Taking its title from a compliment an instructor gave Hegar on her marksmanship, Hegar's inspirational memoir reflects the strength and grace with which she approached her service to her country, whether she was venturing behind enemy lines to rescue wounded soldiers or standing up for women's right to be on the front line. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Shot down and wounded while on a medevac mission in Afghanistan, Air National Guard major and Purple Heart winner Hegar subsequently won her case as a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit arguing that the Combat Exclusion Policy (barring women from direct combat) was unconstitutional. Film rights to TriStar. [Page 68]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In her first memoir, Hegar shares her experience growing up with the dream of being a fighter pilot, losing her way after her beloved stepfather's tragic death, and her struggle through gender prejudice, sexual assault, and finding the love of her life. These personal details are woven through her story of military training, sacrifice for her country, and flying combat search and rescue missions as an Air National Guard helicopter pilot. After three tours in Afghanistan, Hegar was shot down during a Medevac mission but managed to save the lives of herself, her crew, and their patients. The resulting injuries ended her military career but not her willingness to battle for women's rights in the military. Along with many others, Hegar fought to end the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy that kept servicewomen from being officially assigned to military units which see direct combat. Parts of this conversional and engaging narrative are gut-wrenching and difficult to read, but that's what makes this book so important. VERDICT Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in American history, modern history, military history, women's history, gender studies, and autobiography. [See Prepub Alert, 12/14/15.]—Crystal Goldman, Univ. of California, San Diego Lib. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

From the time Hegar was very young, she knew she wanted to be a fighter pilot. Despite sexism, military politics, and emotional setbacks, she persisted until she was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force as a combat pilot, and then served three tours in Afghanistan. As a combat search-and-rescue team member, Hegar earned a Purple Heart and other honors. Her book is more than a mere account of her accomplishments, detailing the obstacles she encountered yet encouraging other women eager to join the military. Hegar also describes how, with the ACLU, she waged a legal battle to give women the right to officially serve in combat roles in the military. The writing is candid, and the message is a resounding one: "Sometimes the biggest asset on your team isn't the one who looks like Superman. People will surprise you with the strength they can summon when tested." VERDICT For students with military aspirations and those who appreciate uplifting memoirs.—Pamela Schembri, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An Air National Guard officer describes her experiences after being shot down on a Medevac mission in Afghanistan and her efforts to convince the U.S. government to allow women to serve openly on the front lines.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An Air National Guard Major describes her experiences after being shot down on a Medevac mission in Afghanistan, recounting the courageous acts that saved lives and earned prestigious decorations before she began efforts to convince the U.S. government to allow women to serve openly on the front lines.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“A must-read about an American patriot whose courage and determination will have a lasting impact on the future of our Armed Forces and the nation.”—Senator John McCainOn July 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve...   After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan, flying combat search-and-rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device.   But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge—to eliminate the military’s Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their long-standing record of doing so with honor.   In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the reader on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.       SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTUREINCLUDES PHOTOS