College supports “Shoot Like A Girl” war hero on campus

Shoot Girl 4 with Gordon

Media Arts Assistant Professor Bob Gordon with U.S. Air Force Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar

U.S. Air Force Maj. Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar, a decorated combat search and rescue helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who also changed U.S. military policy, spoke in November to hundreds of students in the 221 McWherter lecture hall.

Hegar, 41, served three tours in Afghanistan flying combat search and rescue missions. She received a Purple Heart when she was shot down in 2009 during her third trip to the south central Asian nation. Her actions during the crisis saved her crew and patients, leading to her status as one of only two women to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor.

Her lecture included a retelling of her military experience as well as her reasons behind her decision to sue the U.S. Department of Defense in 2012, charging that the combat exclusion policy for women was unconstitutional. Her lawsuit resulted in the repeal of the policy the next year.

She is currently seeking a Congressional seat in Texas. Her memoir “Shoot Like A Girl” was released in March and is currently in development as a feature film with TriStar Pictures.

Bob Gordon, an assistant professor in the Department of Media Arts, contacted Hegar last spring after hearing an interview with her on National Public Radio. Gordon’s Media Arts production students were on hand to record the lecture, while students from Recording Industry associate professor John Merchant’s audio class provided the event’s sound.

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Hegar’s visit was sponsored by MTSU’s Distinguished Lecture Fund, the College of Media and Entertainment, Aerospace Department, College of Liberal Arts, Women and Gender Studies, School of Journalism, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.

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Categories: Events, Faculty, News

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