Making History in the Sky with Capt. Katie Higgins

#MyStory is a series that spotlights inspiring women in the Instagram community. Join the conversation by sharing your own story. To see what life is like for the Blue Angels, follow @gearupflapsup on Instagram.

“#MyStory illustrates how a desire to serve one’s country can inspire someone to reach beyond their own preconceived notions about themselves.” —US Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins (@gearupflapsup), a 29-year-old third-generation military aviator and the first female Blue Angels pilot

“Being a female student at the US Naval Academy was the first time I was a minority simply because of my gender. When I was there, it was around 20 percent women. I learned a lot of valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, perseverance and hard work. Most importantly, however, I learned the significance of pulling your own weight and earning respect versus demanding it. I always say the same thing to women who want to pursue any career let alone a nontraditional one: ‘Calm seas don’t make a skilled sailor.’ It’s not the easy times in your life that make you who you are. It’s the hard times, the obstacles, the rough seas that shape you as a person. My time in Afghanistan is the part of my life that I am the most proud of. I became a Marine to support those troops on the ground in every way possible. In Afghanistan, I felt like I was doing that every single day.”

On this day 11 years ago (06.28.05), 19 brave warriors gave their lives during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. It was the most tragic day in Naval Special Warfare history and devastated the 160th SOAR as well. Godspeed to all these men and their families.

SEAL Team:
Lt. Michael P. Murphy
Petty Officer Matthew Axelson
Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz

Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, of New Orleans, Louisiana
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, New Hampshire
Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen, 33, of San Diego, California
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, of Corbett, Oregon
Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, of Portville, New York
Petty Officer 2nd Class James E. Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Florida
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, of Midway, West Virginia
Petty Officer Second Class Eric Shane Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nevada

Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville, Ohio
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, of Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, Florida
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, of Shelbyville, Indiana
Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tennessee
Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, of Washington Depot, Connecticut.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, of Stafford, Virginia
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, Florida