Kathleen A. McGrath

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Kathleen Anne McGrath (4 June 1952 – 26 September 2002) was the first woman to command a United States Navy warship.[1]

McGrath graduated from California State University at Sacramento in 1975.[2] She worked in the United States Forestry Service until 1980 when she joined the US Navy. McGrath was deployed to the Western Pacific, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.[1]

She commanded the rescue and salvage ship USS Recovery in 1993 and 1994.

In December 1998, Captain McGrath became commander of the frigate USS Jarrett. She was one of the group of five women, including Michelle J. Howard, Maureen Farren, Ann O'Connor, and Grace Mehl, chosen to be the first female combatant commanders in the United States Navy.[3]

In the spring of 2000, during her command of the Jarrett, and just six years after Congress revoked rules prohibiting women from serving on combat aircraft and warships, the ship deployed to the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf, hunting boats suspected of smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of United Nations sanctions.[1]

Following her tour as commander of the Jarrett, McGrath served at the Joint Advanced Warfighting Unit in Alexandria, Virginia.[1]

She died (aged 50) at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, from lung cancer.[1] She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery: section 66, site 727.



  1. ^ a b c d e "Capt. Kathleen McGrath, 50, Pioneering Warship Commander". New York Times. 2002-10-01. p. B8. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Mark (2000-03-27). "Aye, Aye, Ma'am". TIME. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  3. ^ Lang, John (1998-03-25). "Albuquerque woman to command Navy fighting ship". Albuquerque Times. 

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