Catherine stark in uniform by fighter jet
Catherine stark in uniform by fighter jet

Catherine Stark: The first female marine to fly the F-35

Even though we are in the 21st century, the truth is that there are still certain professions that apparently are thought to be better suited for men than women; like being President of the USA or a pilot for a US air force. Luckily, Catherine Stark is breaking this pattern on the second one, (and hopefully in 2020 another woman breaks the first one), but in the meantime, let’s celebrate the woman who will become the first female Marine to be assigned to the Navy’s F-35C fleet replacement squadron (FRS).

Catherine Stark earned her wings Friday at a ceremony in Kingsville, Texas, and in doing so became the first female Marine to be assigned to the U.S. Navy’s F-35C fleet replacement squadron at the age of 24. Stark graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned as a Marine officer in 2016. She spent about 18 months in flight school before earning her Wings of Gold — the insignia worn by naval aviators — on Friday.

Catherine Stark is the fourth of eight children in her family and among three in the military. Her brother, Lt. Joseph Stark, is a Naval Supply Systems Command logistics director for Seal Team 4, and Zofia Stark, who, like her sister, completed the U.S. Naval Academy in 2016, is a 1st lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

“She was evaluated by merit, not by gender,” Beata Stark, Catherine’s mother said. “She had to meet the same standards to pass as everyone else. So, we’re proud, we’re grateful.” And so are we. You go, girl!

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