She is the first woman to pilot a B-52, a charismatic twenty-six-year-old from a proper Georgia family who has always distinguished herself–as a fifteen- year-old at U.S. Space Camp and as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. There, she overcame considerable odds and earned a coveted position as a combat pilot. But nothing prepared Lieutenant Kelly Flinn for the controversy that erupted when the military began an investigation into her relationship with Marc Zigo, a man who lied to her about his marital status and then betrayed her to military authorities. Flinn was forced to resign amid charges of disobeying orders, charges she disputes in this poignant and powerful memoir. This is the story of Flinn’s love affair with flying . . . and the love affair that ended her trailblazing Air Force career. This is also the story of a determined young woman fighting for her rightful place in a military establishment run by men, many of whom are not yet ready to accept a female combat pilot. Flinn reveals examples of hypocrisy and sexism in the military that are, by any standard, infuriating. With disarming candour, Flinn takes us inside her world. We feel her exhilaration as she soars through the sky and commands her own plane, and we share her horror as the love she dreamed of turns into a nightmare and she must battle the military’s sex police behind closed doors. Kelly Flinn has been called “the Hester Prynne of our time,” and her life has been depicted in the media as a combination of Top Gun and The Scarlet Letter. In Proud to Be, she speaks in her own voice–determined, vulnerable, and all too human.
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