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Women's History Month: Aviation

Navy leaders and pioneers

"From the Revolutionary War to current conflicts, women have played a crucial role in the security of our nation and the success of the U.S. Navy. Join us as we celebrate Women's History Month by profiling women leaders and pioneers across the Navy."

Navy Photo

Rear Admiral Margaret Klein is currently serving as Senior Advisor To The Secretary Of Defense For Military Professionalism.

Q: Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?

A: As a young girl, I had a desire to fly. My dad was a private pilot and we lived near a Reserve Air Station. I jumped at the chance to attend USNA when it opened to women since I wanted to serve in the Active component and when I was in high school, the Services were all getting smaller and Reserve-only duty was a reality after NROTC.

Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you?

A: I was most influenced in my early years by three CDRs. CDR Pete Koch was my boss at CNAL. He taught me how to be value-added on a staff. Then-CDR Tim Keating included me on his team of detailers and welcomed me into what was then the brotherhood of naval aviation. He helped pave the way for me to serve aboard the USS Kitty Hawk on my first at-sea assignment by putting in a good word for me when I had yet to serve at sea. Lastly, then-CDR John Keilty was a CO of mine during my Dept Head tour. He inspired me to grow as a Dept Head, he continued to inspire me during my CO tour and taught me patience. There are many more, but those three were first and I can't say I would have stayed Navy without their influence.
This is a photo collage of Rear Admiral Klein.

Q: Please tell us a story about someone, perhaps in your family or otherwise e, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than you ever thought you might.

A: My Dad was an Army then a Navy Reservist. He bled blue and gold and I loved it. He loved what he did, he loved the people he worked with. His attitude, and love of flying, inspired me to want to serve. He sent me the newspaper article that said the Service Academies were opening to women. He challenged me to get in shape and apply. I was in college and enjoying myself, so it was no small feat to go back to being a freshman and essentially start college all over again!

Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable to you and why.

A: My first afloat tour on the KHK Strike Group staff was amazing, I learned immensely, and I loved Japan. I also learned a lot when I worked as a Legislative Fellow for Senator Olympia Snowe. My first assignment as a Flag Officer was amazing as I learned to work with other Flags under the wisdom of VADM Denby Starling. He was a great boss!

Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?

A: When I think of leading, I think of setting the best example I can humanly set. I think of having a vision for where we need to go and for treating people as I want to be treated.