Three Female Naval Academy Grads Running for Congress

Three women who attended Annapolis together are running for seats in Congress.

Three women who attended Annapolis together are running for seats in Congress.

NYT (“From Annapolis to Congress? These Three Women Know Tough Missions“):

Elaine Luria commanded an assault ship with a crew of 400 that patrolled the Persian Gulf for hostile Iranian vessels. Amy McGrath was the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 fighter jet in combat, dropping bombs over Afghanistan and Iraq. Mikie Sherrill was certified as a Navy helicopter pilot only after passing an underwater crash simulation in which she was blindfolded, turned upside down, and forced to find the sole exit door.

Their military journeys began at the United States Naval Academy, where Ms. Luria and Ms. McGrath were plebes together when Ms. Sherrill was a senior.

Now they are on a mission that no female Annapolis graduate has accomplished: to win seats in Congress.

A powerful wave of political activism is animating women in the era of President Trump, stoked by women’s marches and the movement to expose sexual misconduct. More than 390 women are running for Congress, a record number, and they are overwhelmingly Democrats.

But the three Naval Academy graduates, all Democrats themselves, are offering something that breaks through — the kind of military credentials and academy service that have propelled men to office since the founding of the country. And they are running in swing districts where military service is likely to resonate and where Democrats must win to wrest control of the House from Republicans.

It’s rather remarkable that no female graduate of the Naval Academy has been elected to Congress. Women were admitted to the service academies in 1976, with the first graduates in 1980. That’s 37 classes, with the oldest of the grads pushing 60.  As it turns out, Heather Wilson, a 1982 Air Force Academy graduate, was not only the first female service academy graduate elected to Congress but the first female veteran, period—but also the first USAFA grad. (She’s now Secretary of the Air Force.) By contrast, there are five West Point graduates and three Annapolis graduates currently in Congress; all of them male. Martha McSally, elected in 2014, is the only USAFA grad currently serving.

FILED UNDER: 2018 Election, Afghanistan War, Military Affairs, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Franklin says:

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I think that men have had their shot at running things. Time to try something new. These women in particular sound accomplished (well I mean they’re no reality TV stars, but …), and as you note their military credentials should boost their chances.

  2. Doc182 says:

    Tells me all I need to know about our Military Academies, they are all liberal bastions and anti freedom

  3. Just 'nutha... says:

    @Doc182: What?