First Woman Training and Qualified as a Crew Member in the F-15E
For 28 years, Cmdr. Patricia “Trish” Beckman, Ret., lived and breathed the Navy, where her career has led her to many areas of the aviation and space industry. When she retired in January 1999, Trish had accumulated more than 3,300 flying hours in 66 types of aircraft. Her Naval career has taken her from flying in an F-111D over Southern California on a two-and-a-half hour adventure including supersonic flight, to flying in an Italian GR-1 Toronado where Trish and the pilot flew over the Pope’s home.
Trish Beckman‚s aviation career began many years ago with her first airplane ride to Florida when she was only 13. Trish continued her interest in aviation, and her dreams expanded toward space thanks to the influence of the space program in her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, where she spent her childhood years. Her heroes were the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts. In 1995 she wrote, “Military aviation is by far the most exciting facet of aviation. . . My desire to fly combat aircraft is the result of my warrior personality.”
Trish demonstrated tenacity to her dreams as she climbed through the enlisted and officer ranks. She was one of the first group of Navy women navigators to qualify as Naval flight officers and attend test pilot school . She was then tapped for a job overseeing the production of F-18s at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis.
Her strong personality also reveals itself in her fierce support of women‚s issues and a commitment to supporting younger women involved in the military. She is a past president of Women Military Aviators, Inc. (WMA). In 1992, Cmdr. Beckman acted as a moderator for a panel of women who had served in Desert Storm. They reported on their military training and involvement in Desert Storm.