American Grit Stories

Tammie Jo Shults: Wings of Gold 5/5 (1)

There is definitely something to be said about Naval aviators, they know what the hell they are doing and that training never goes away. From dropping a bird onto a gigantic moving platform to ensuring that Southwest Flight 1380 didn’t go down in a heaping ball of flames, Tammie Jo Shults has what many aviators call the “right stuff”.  As one of the first female aviators in Naval history, piloting the ever famous F/A-18 Hornet, Tammie Jo Shults is no stranger to adversity or keeping a cool head.

One of the engines on the aircraft, for lack of a better term, blew up, ripping a hole in the fuselage and obviously taking an engine out of commission. With 149 people on board, the hole sucked a passenger halfway out, but the other brave souls on the flight managed to pull her back in. Despite their heroic act, she passed away. All while this was occurring Tammie was maintaining control of the aircraft. We’re not pilots but we’d venture to say flying well is not the easiest of tasks, especially when your plane is missing an engine or has a gaping hole in the side.

As a fighter pilot though, Tammie has that calm, cool, collected demeanor. She calmly reported the situation to the ground and ensured the proper medical personnel were on standby as well. So you’ve got this bad-ass former fighter pilot, not only piloting the damaged craft, but also coordinating ground crews to ensure no other lives are lost, yeah we’d say that’s pretty awesome. It’s one thing to just land the crippled plane. It’s another to do that and manage to organize all that you need from the ground crews.

Tammie Jo Shults

As always, a Naval aviator has shown great credit to herself and continued on the excellence of United States Naval traditions. With wings of gold, Tammie Jo Shults showed us the very best our veterans have to offer this world.

Read more stories of American Grit here:

LT. ALMAR FITZGERALD: MAKING THE CITADEL PROUD

COLONEL PETER ORTIZ: SMOKIN’ NAZI’S

RYAN JENSEN: LETTING GO TO GRASP FIRM

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The Author

John Fannin

John Fannin

John spent four years as a 0351, Infantry Assaulltman in the United States Marine Corps. He deployed twice to the city of Ramadi, Iraq with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2008 John pursued a degree in Kinesiology from Texas Lutheran University. During his time at TLU, John was fortunate enough to play football for a year and serve the local community as a volunteer firefighter. After graduating John worked as a personal trainer for few years before coming to work at American Grit. John is also the proud owner of a great beard.