Kristin entered the Naval Academy from Vermilion, Ohio. She graduated in 1992 with a degree in Chemistry and entered flight training in Pensacola. Her timing was fortuitous considering she selected her final fleet aircraft on the heels of the ban on women in combat. As an F14 Radar Intercept Officer, she entered VF-101 in the first class of women to fly in aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers.
Kristin would eventually fly with VF-32 as a JO, VF-101 as a flight instructor, CVW-1 and Fighter Wing as staff, and finally VF-31 as a department head which would be the sundown cruise for the F14 platform. Flying in numerous combat zones, she accumulated nearly 3,000 hours with 703 arrested carrier landings that would include landings on nearly every flattop in the Fleet. Subsequent tours included Pacific Fleet staff in Hawaii, staff officer for 3rd Army in Kuwait, Fleet Electronic Warfare Center in Little Creek and finally, Executive Officer of the Phys Ed Department at the Naval Academy. Kristin’s awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medial with Combat “V”, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Outside of the cockpit, Kristin has been active in many areas. Most notably, she participated as a member of the All Navy triathlon team for Olympic distance and Iron distance. She raced the World Championship Ironman race in Kona, Hawaii four times representing Navy between 2008 and 2012. Her notable personal accomplishments include published children’s author, an MS in Nutrition, the first Officer Representative for the USNA extracurricular club SPECTRUM, and Vice Chair of the USNA Out Board from 2012 through 2018. She is currently retired from active duty after 23 years and pursuing a dual degree program as a primary care physician and practitioner of Oriental Medicine in Seattle, WA.
I did not come out until 2010 at the age of 40 and had intended to retire right at 20 years in 2012. Despite the privilege of flying in an F14 Tomcat, the first 20 years were an exceptionally difficult struggle – I was ready to be done. With the passing of DADT, I received a 3-year reprieve on my career that ended up being the best three I could have asked for ending where I started at the Naval Academy, taking my retirement out to 23 years of service in 2015.
While a Commander stationed as XO of the PE department under leadership that gave me full trust and respect, I was blessed to work with some amazing leaders, midshipmen, and junior officers that renewed my faith in humanity. Through the PE department, teaching, mentoring, and Navy Spectrum, these future leaders showed me that our Navy is in good hands. While I was never able to live ‘out’ until my tour at USNA, they inspired me to do so now with pride, making up for lost time.
I’m grateful for the first 20 years, no doubt, because being a woman on the edge of change makes for unbelievably unique experiences. But it was the last three at USNA surrounded by some really courageous mids and JOs, both those that identified as LGBT and those that were allies, that made all the years leading up to them worth the struggle. I’m proud many things: being a USNA alumnus, being a member of the Naval Aviation fraternity, flying one of the most amazing combat aircraft ever built…but am proudest of being a part of the USNA Out family and finally being able to say so openly.