Friday, February 01, 2013

Cool Things My Friends Do: Mary Jennnings Hegar's Victory For Women In Combat

Each Friday on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their work and personal lives. 

This week I had lunch with Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar. She was the lead plaintiff in the landmark case that settled last week, Hegar vs. Panetta. Mary and three other women sued the Department of Defense challenging the military's policy excluding women from many combat positions.

She served three tours over two deployments to Afghanistan, and trained as a California Air National Guard Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilot after serving 5 years in the Air Force. She was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with a Valor Device for heroism while participating in an aerial mission near Kandahar Airfield on July 29, 2009.

Last week The Pentagon decided to end the ban on women in combat.  This is a triumph for equal rights, and it is cool to know the person who now more than just a footnote in history.  Mary feels strongly that this case was about standing up for what is right. By denying qualified service members key roles and recognition it was discrimination, and that is not acceptable.  

I have been friends with Mary's mother for many years and followed the case in the news.  I was excited for Mary, and since I am the father of two daughter, I was pleased to see another glass ceiling shattered.

It was also funny to see Mary parodied on John Stewart's Daily Show.  This is the first time someone I know has been part of a comedy skit on the Daily Show... but knowing most of my friends, it it probably not the last!!! (Click Here to see the Daily Show video).

Mary will be speaking in Austin at the Metropolitan Breakfast Club on February 27, 2013.  I am looking forward to hearing the rest of her story!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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