Jeannie Leavitt

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Jeannie Leavitt
Maj Gen Jeannie Leavitt.png
Birth nameJeannie Marie Flynn
Bornc. 1967 (age 52–53)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service1991 – present
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held333d Fighter Squadron
4th Fighter Wing
57th Wing
Air Force Recruiting Service
Battles/warsOperation Southern Watch
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Spouse(s)Col. Craig Leavitt[1]

Jeannie Marie Leavitt (née Flynn; born c. 1967) is a United States Air Force general officer. She became the United States Air Force's first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.[2]

Early life[edit]

Leavitt was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to James, who was enlisted in the Air Force, and Pat Flynn.[3] She attended Bishop DuBourg High School, a private Roman Catholic school in St. Louis. After graduating in 1985 and before joining the Air Force, she earned a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a MS degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in California.[4]


Leavitt began her Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas in 1992. She was being trained as a T-38 instructor pilot at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio when restrictions on women flying combat missions were dropped in April 1993. Thereafter she began formal combat training in the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, becoming the service's first female fighter pilot.[3]

1st Lt. Flynn sitting in the cockpit of a F-15E during her time (1993–94) with the 555th Fighter Squadron

Leavitt's F-15 flight hours have included 300 combat hours, mostly over Afghanistan and Iraq. On one mission, during Operation Southern Watch in 1996, she supported a Royal Air Force Tornado GR1 under threat from an Iraqi Roland surface-to-air missile.[5]

From 2002 to 2010, Leavitt earned three master's degrees; a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University in Alabama (2002), a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base (2004), and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College (2010).[6]

Leavitt's first command was the 333d Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. She was appointed Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, at the same base in June 2012.[6]

In June 2014, Leavitt relinquished command of the 4th Fighter Wing to become principal military assistant to the Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C..[7]

In 2016, Leavitt became the first woman to take control of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, and was promoted to brigadier general.[8][9]

In June 2018, Leavitt relinquished command of the 57th Wing to become the current commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Joint Base San Antonio, in Texas.[10]


Leavitt is married to retired USAF Col. Craig Leavitt, and they have two children. [11]


  1. January 1992 – March 1993, student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas.
  2. March 1993 – July 1993, T-38 instructor pilot upgrade trainee, Randolph AFB, Texas, later Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
  3. July 1993 – April 1994, student, F-15E Formal Training Course, 555th Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Arizona.
  4. April 1994 – January 1998, instructor pilot, training officer, later Assistant Chief of Weapons, then Assistant Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
  5. January 1998 – July 1998, student, USAF Weapons Instructor Course, F-15E Division, Nellis AFB, Nevada.
  6. July 1998 – June 2001, F-15E instructor pilot, Assistant Chief then Chief of Weapons and Tactics, later Flight Commander then Assistant Operations Officer, 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.
  7. June 2001 – August 2003, F-15E instructor pilot, Wing Standardization and Evaluation Examiner, 57th Operations Group, later Academics Flight Commander then Assistant Operations Officer for Academics, 17th Weapons Squadron, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nevada.
  8. August 2003 – July 2004, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
  9. July 2004 – September 2005, Chief of Special Technical Operations, United States Forces Korea, Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea.
  10. September 2005 – April 2007, Chief of Master Air Attack Plans, 609th Combat Plans Squadron, Ninth Air Force and United States Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, South Carolina.
  11. April 2007 – July 2009, Assistant Director of Operations, 334th Fighter Squadron, later Commander, 333d Fighter Squadron, then Special Assistant to the 4th Operations Group Commander, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
  12. July 2009 – June 2010, student, National War College, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
  13. July 2010 – May 2012, CSAF Fellow, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.
  14. June 2012 – June 2014, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
  15. June 2014 – April 2016, Principal Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
  16. April 2016 – June 2018, Commander, 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada.
  17. June 2018 – present, Commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

Flight Information[edit]

Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,000, including over 300 combat hours
Aircraft flown: McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, Northrop T-38 Talon, Cessna T-37 Tweet

Awards and decorations[edit]

Jeannie Leavitt's decorations as of September 2019:

Defense Superior Service Medal
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Width-44 scarlet ribbon with width-4 ultramarine blue stripe at center, surrounded by width-1 white stripes. Width-1 white stripes are at the edges. Bronze Star Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal

Other achievements[edit]

1997: Outstanding Young Texas Exes, University of Texas at Austin
2009: Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award, National Aeronautic Association

Promotion dates[edit]

Insignia Rank Date
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General September 2, 2019
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General July 3, 2016
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel October 1, 2009
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2006
US-O4 insignia.svg Major May 1, 2002
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain July 1, 1995
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant July 1, 1993
US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant July 1, 1991


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Air Force.
  1. ^ "Leavitt and Doherty Family Members Escorted Prior to Change of Command Ceremony". Seymour Johnson AFB Library Digital Collections. June 1, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "First female fighter pilot becomes first female wing commander". Fox News. May 31, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "On The Front Lines When Second Lt. Jeannie Marie Flynn Began Training Yesterday To Be The First U.s. Female Fighter Pilot, She Was Breaking Through Barriers". Philadelphia Inquirer. May 20, 1993. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Cavalier: The Magazine for Bishop DuBourg High School" (PDF). Bishop DuBourg High School. Winter 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "AF first female fighter pilot continues to break stereotypes". Air Force News Service. January 3, 2013. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Biographies > Major General Jeannie M. Leavitt". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  7. ^ "Change of command at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base". June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Nellis Air Force Base welcomes 57th Wing's first woman commander". Las Vegas Review-Journal. April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  9. ^ Holleman, Joe. "STLer who became Air Force's first female fighter pilot promoted to brigadier general". Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  10. ^ Akers, Mick (2018-06-11). "Trailblazing officer says goodbye to Nellis Air Force Base - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  11. ^ Rogers, Keith (April 16, 2016). "Nellis Air Force Base welcomes 57th Wing's first woman commander". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 4 Sep 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.

Further reading[edit]

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