Martha McSally

Born:March 22, 1966 (age 54)
Career:U.S. Senate, 2019-present
U.S. House of Representatives, 2015-2019
Education:M.A., John F. Kennedy School of Government and U.S. Air War College

Martha McSally was appointed to the U.S. Senate for Arizona on Jan. 3, 2019, to finish the term of the late Senator John McCain, who passed away on August 25, 2018. McCain's first appointed successor, retired Senator Jon Kyl, served only until the end of that Congress. McSally previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona's 2nd District from 2015 to 2019. A retired United States Air Force colonel, McSally was the first American woman to fly in combat and the first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron.

McSally was born on March 22, 1966 in Warwick, Rhode Island. She graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1988, earned a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and then entered pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas. She earned a second master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Air War College.

Following the repeal of the combat aircraft restriction for female pilots, McSally became the first woman in U.S. history to fly a combat aircraft into enemy territory when she flew into Iraq in support of the United Nations no-fly zone enforcement. In 1999, she was selected for the Legislative Fellowship Program, working on Capitol Hill and serving as a national security advisor to Senator Jon Kyl on issues including terrorism, cyber security and missile defense. In 2001, she earned national recognition for successfully overturning a military policy requiring all U.S. servicewomen to wear a Muslim Abaya and headscarf when off base in Saudi Arabia. In July 2004, she took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to command a combat aviation unit. McSally retired from active duty on May 6, 2010, with 22 years of commissioned service in the U.S. Air Force. Before resigning to run for Congress in 2012, McSally served as a professor of national security studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

In 2012, McSally was an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary for the special election for Arizona's 8th congressional district vacancy created by the resignation of Gabrielle Giffords. She then won the Republican nomination in the 2012 regular election for the district, which had been renumbered as the 2nd District, losing in the general election. She won election to the U.S. House in 2014.

For information on McSally’s policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, please visit her profile on


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