Tammie Jo Shults
While she was not originally scheduled to be on the flight that day, Captain Tammie Jo Shults’ calm resolve and courageous leadership in the midst of crisis saved 148 lives aboard Flight 1380. During the climb out from New York’s LaGuardia airport, she experienced a catastrophic engine failure and a rapid depressurization when debris from the explosion punctured the cabin. Tammie Jo Shults’ professionalism and skill as a pilot, as well as her grace under pressure, allowed her to successfully complete a single-engine emergency landing in Philadelphia. Afterward, she personally spoke to and comforted each of the passengers.
Although she was assured as a high school senior by a retired colonel lecturing on aviation at a vocational day program that women could not be professional pilots, she was not dissuaded and went on to prove him wrong. Tammie Jo became a U.S. Navy fighter pilot and one of the first females to fly the F/A-18 Hornet. With women excluded from flying in combat squadrons at the time, she flew as an aggressor pilot and helped prepare the fleet for combat during Operation Desert Storm. Following her service in the Navy and reserves, where she reached the rank of lieutenant commander, she joined Southwest Airlines as a pilot.
While lauded for her nerves of steel, a fellow woman veteran also notes that Tammie Jo Shults “serves her family, her community and her country on a daily basis with kindness, empathy and humility in her heart.”
Page last updated 11:32 AM, May 18, 2022