Shannon Lee Workman
Shannon Workman of Cumberland graduated from Fort Hill High School in 1984 and the United States Naval Academy in 1988. She is officially considered a pioneer in women’s aviation. Shannon flew patrols over the “no-fly” zone in Iraq during the first Gulf War.
In May 1993 she became the first female jet pilot to make night landings on an aircraft carrier and in February 1994 Lieutenant Workman made 12 daytime and 4 nighttime landings in an EA-6B Prowler jet aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to become the first woman to qualify and serve as part of a combat squadron aboard an aircraft carrier.
From: Frontline: The Navy Blues, Women in the Navy , Hargrave – The Pioneers, Training Squadron Seven: USN, Female Graduates: 1989-2001 and Naval Aviation News, July-August, 1993.
Shannon Workman was inducted into the Fort Hill High School Hall of Fame on January 24, 2014. The following narrative is taken from her induction.
Class of 1984
Shannon graduated from Fort Hill as co-valedictorian in 1984. She then accepted a Congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where she majored in economics, graduated "With Distinction", number 56 out of 1060 graduates, and was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy in 1988. After attending flight school in Pensacola, FL and Meridian, MS, Shannon earned her wings of gold as a naval aviator on June 1, 1990. She became a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD) flight instructor, instructing intermediate jet training in the T-2C Buckeye.
When the United States changed its laws on women in combat in 1993, she was the first female pilot to qualify with day and night landings in a fleet airplane, the EA-6B Prowler, on an aircraft carrier. After deploying overseas on the USS Eisenhower and making over 100 arrested landings, she later flew the C-9B, a global transport plane, all over the world, serving as aircraft commander and flight instructor. She has flown to six of the seven continents and completed a "round the world” mission, leaving Whidbey Island, WA, heading west and continuing to fly west until again reaching Whidbey Island, stopping in various places such as Wake Island, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Qatar, Egypt, Greece, England, and Iceland.
Shannon attended the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA, where she completed the Aviation Safety Officer course. She was promoted to the rank of 0-5, Commander, in the United States Navy and also screened for Command. She earned various naval awards, including a Navy Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star.
Shannon left the active duty Navy in 1999, continuing to fly the DC-9 in the Naval Reserves and going on to become a commercial airline pilot, flying the Boeing 737 for United Airlines and then the Airbus 320 for JetBlue Airways, where she still works. Shannon has qualified in nine different types of aircraft and has amassed over 9000 total flight hours.
She lives in Leesburg, VA and has an 8-year old daughter, Michaela. Her parents, Bill and Amy Workman, still live in Cumberland, MD. In her free time, Shannon likes to explore the Pacific Northwest, where she lived for 13 years. She also enjoys hiking, bicycling, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Text - Albert Feldstein, photograph - Naval Aviation News.
The photograph is used with permission of Naval Aviation News.
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