Amy McGrath

Amy was born the youngest of three children to Donald and Marianne McGrath, and grew up in Edgewood, Kentucky. Her father was a high school English teacher and her mother, a pediatrician and psychiatrist, was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Kentucky medical school.

When Amy was 13 years old, she dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot, but women were not yet allowed to serve in combat roles in our military. Determined to find a solution, she wrote her elected officials to ask them to change the law. She never heard back from her senator, Mitch McConnell.

After the law was finally changed, Amy attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in 1997. She went on to serve 20 years in the Marines. First, she became a F/A-18 weapons systems officer (backseater).

During this tour, she completed two combat deployments, and flew 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, targeting al-Qaida and the Taliban. In 2002, as a weapons systems officer, Amy became the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly a combat mission in an F/A-18. In 2004, she transitioned to become an F/A-18 pilot and completed a second operational tour deploying to Japan and flying all around the Pacific. She completed her third combat deployment in Helmand Province Afghanistan in 2010.

After her operational flying tours, Amy served as a Congressional Fellow advising a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on defense and foreign policy. Subsequently, she served in the Pentagon as Marine Corps’ liaison to the State Department and other federal agencies.

She earned a masters degree in global security from Johns Hopkins University and she is a graduate of the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction’s Program for Emerging Leaders at the National Defense University. Her final assignment was as a senior instructor in the Political Science Department at the US Naval Academy before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and moving back home to Kentucky to raise her family.

Her awards include (2) Meritorious Service Medals, (8) Strike Flight Air Medals, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Iraqi and Afghan (2) Campaign medals.

Amy lives in Georgetown, Kentucky, with her husband Erik, a retired Navy pilot, and her three children, Teddy (7), George (5), and Eleanor (3).