Mary Livingston

Distinguished Alumna Lieutenant Colonel Mary M. Livingston, Retired, Class of 1970

Mary Livingston was born in Richmond, the youngest of six children.  After graduating from RHS in 1970, she attended Purdue University majoring in industrial engineering.  Just before graduation, she applied to the air force officer training program in 1974 and was accepted.  She was accepted as an industrial engineer and worked for two years while training to receive her private pilot’s training certificate.

In 1976 with the end of the Vietnam War draft and a focus on women’s rights, the air force decided to test women to see if  they could become fighter pilots.

Livingston, at five foot four inches, just made it into the new program as the cockpits were designed to accommodate a certain size pilot.  She was sent to England as part of a test group of  twenty selected women which was narrowed to the top ten.  They were tested on their mental and physical abilities, and the pilots  had to pass an officers’ qualification test and a pilot navigation test, consisting mostly  of spatial orientation.

In August 1976, she began training in Hondo, Texas.  Mary recalled that she was under great scrutiny  until she graduated at Williams Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona.  “Being a woman in a man’s flight suit was interesting.  When people saw  the suit, they always assumed it would contain a man.”

In August 1977, she graduated, becoming an instructor pilot in Columbus, Mississippi, where she met her future husband. Livingston was then relocated to San Antonio, Texas, where she completed her MA in business administration.

Livingston taught economics at the United States Air Force Academy, and  she was a flight instructor with a new motorized glider program.  She later became the commander of the recruiting squadron.

In 1996 Mary  Livingston retired to raise her daughter, and she, and her husband and  daughter moved to Centerville, Indiana.  She now resides in Manistique, Michigan.

Lieutenant Colonel Mary Livingston was selected as Distinguished Alumna in 1992.





















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