Meet The Only Female Harrier Pilot In The US Marine Corps

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The AV-8B Harrier jet, also known as the “Jump Jet,” is a Marine Corps fighter and ground support platform. It is unique in that it can operate as a fixed wing fighter jet that can land and take off vertically from ground or from an aircraft carrier.

This article is not about the Harrier jet fighter, but about something even more unique. It is about the only female Harrier pilot in the United States Marine Corps.

Her name is Capt. Kelsey Casey. She is a Marine Corps officer through and through. Marine Pilots, like all Marine officers, are trained not just in the operation of the various air platforms that the Marine Corps flies; they also go through the same officer training courses in leadership, infantry field operations, and weapons training, as the rest of Marine Corps officers. This follows the Corps’ idea that every Marine is a rifleman first.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Marine Capt. Kelsey Casey flies a Harrier jet.


Capt. Casey did all of that too. She will explain much more of that in the video attached to this article.

Casey is a native San Franciscan and a graduate of San Francisco State University. She is presently stationed at the Marine Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, but is scheduled to be deployed to the Middle East with Marine Attack Squadron 311 as part of the Special Purpose Marine Ground Task Force—Crisis Response—Central Command. She will be a part of the most recent rotational deployment. Her job will be to fly support for U.S. and allied operations under U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. This generally means supporting ground troops, both U.S. and allied forces who are operating against ISIS or other terrorist groups in the region.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
An AV-8B Harrier jump jet assigned to the “Tigers” of Marine Attack Squadron Five Four Two (VMA-542) prepares to takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).


In the video, and in her own words, you will see and hear Capt. Casey explaining in her own love of flying, the workings and missions of the AV-8B Harrier jet, what her training, her sense of mission, and the reason why she entered the Marine Corps.

She is one impressive young woman.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Capt. Casey s about the only female Harrier pilot in the United States Marine Corps.


You might get a sense of that through her call sign, “Pug.” You won’t get the exact reason for how she got that call sign, but she will tell you it has nothing to do with the little flat faced dog by that same name. It may very well be related to her grit and the fact that she is the only woman Harrier pilot in the Marine Corps.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Capt. Casey’s call sign is “Pug.”

On her return from her deployment to the Middle East, she will be making another unique move. She has been selected to enter training to join the Joint Strike Fighter F35B Lightning II program.

I think you will agree that this is one fine Marine.

The Veterans Site sends its respect and congratulations to Capt. Kelsey Casey. She is a down-to-earth, strong, mentally and physically tough role model for us all.

OooRah, Capt. Casey. Semper Fi!

Read more from veteran Dan Doyle: Click “Next” below!

Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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