- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Iuniverse Inc; F First Edition Used edition (April 24, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0595001904
- ISBN-13: 978-0595001903
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hornet's Nest : The Experiences of One of the Navy's First Female Fighter Pilots F First Edition Used Edition
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"A brutally honest book by a courageous naval officer. Cummings' Hornet's Nest is a must read for anybody who wants the real inside story about the United States Navy." -- Gregory L. Vistica, Newsweek Correspondent and author of Fall From Glory, the Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy.
"Cummings tells her story in a clear, sometimes humorous, but always riveting manner... Cummings was there, among the first women combat aviators. Her book gives society valuable knowledge of and to voices yet unheard." -- Rosemarie Skaine, author of Women at War: Gender Issues of Americans in Combat
"Rarely do I get an opportunity to read a manuscript written in the "whole cloth" of someone who has been there and done that, but which is also articulately written and artfully constructed. " -- Rear Admiral Paul T. Gillcrist, USN -Ret., author of Feet Wet, Reflections of a Carrier Pilot
About the Author
Mary Cummings, a 1988 graduate of the US Naval Academy, received her Master's degree in Astronautical Engineering in 1994. A naval officer for 10 years, she was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots. She is now a professor in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals division.
Top customer reviews
The early to mid 90's saw significant changes in the military environment. Consider: 1. The Cold war was at an end an thus the very mission of the military was changing from a focus on combatting the Russians to combatting third world despots (...From the Sea). 2. There was a significant drawdown in military forces. Naval Aviators especially no longer felt the need for their services. 3. Tailhook '91 resulted in a witch hunt atmosphere to stamp out sexual harassment. 4. The repeal of the combat exclusion law in 1993 (a direct result both of Tailhook and the election of President Clinton) resulted in a huge cultural change to allow women both on combat ships and combat squadrons. 5. The election of President Clinton forced the issue of homosexuals in the military and resulted in a significant change in policy -- "Don't ask don't tell".
Any one of these changes by themselves would have meant a significant leadership challenge at all levels of the military structure. However, all them coming within the space of a couple years resulted in such a rapid transformation of the military environment that negative consequences were bound to happen. In historical terms, one would need to go back to the years 1945-1949 to find such a parallel in rapid tranformation in our military (drawdown at the end of WWII, integration, transitioning into the Cold War). Missy Cumming's acount as one player during this critical period of rapid change in our military history is truly fascinating. It is a very personal account which allows one to "get behind the scenes" and see the day-to-day workings of our military within the context of the changing times. All of that being said, I must admit, that on a personal level I was appalled at the way Lt. Cummings was treated. As a Naval Academy graduate myself, I was stunned at the immoral and illegal behavior of Naval Aviators, especially the Fighter community. I like to think that as Naval officers, we rise above our base human instincts (lust -- for both sex and power) and instead serve our country with HONOR. Their behavior was really just shameful. At the end of her book, Lt Cummings explains some of the behavior she experienced in psychological terms (groupthink). We can also explain the behavior of the corrupt Naval Aviators in the military sociological/historical context that I described above. At an intellectual level this is all very interesting and instructive. On a personal level, though, those corrupt Naval Aviators have no excuse and are, indeed, a disgrace to the uniform.
We all heard about Tailhook in Las Vegas, but to read how pervasive drinking, drugs, and sexual encounters of all kinds actually are, and are encouraged by high ranking military brass by their own participation or turning a blind eye, is not acceptable in a world-class military. To read how the military justice system is stacked against women, is a disgrace not only to the military but also to citizens of America. No wonder the military does not want a non-military court to hear cases of rape and other sexual encounters.
This is a must read book for anyone interested in naval aviation - and for those who want a first-hand look at how power corrupts. It sheds incredible insight to the manipulations, double standards, mob mentality and egotism of those in power that interferes with logic and righteousness. The military is an organization with literally limitless control over its members. With little oversight and an Inspector General to internally police it (but actually in place to protect the establishment), it is obvious how arrogance is so readily inbred. The result is others following like sheep in order to avoid becoming a target themselves. Call it career- or self-preservation. Once you're a target for a Commanding Officer, flight instructor or anyone else in a position of authority (for whatever reason: a personality conflict or a superior just doesn't like you) with ultimate control over their personnel's destinies, is it a wonder others will fall into line so as not end up in the cross hairs? An attempt at correcting an injustice or to bring about fairness from within the organization merely results in the wagons being circled around the person in authority. Only when others outside the organization get involved is there a shaking up of the establishment. When that happens, suddenly the circled wagons disappear and it becomes a Darwinist survival of the fittest, a fight for individual career-/self-preservation; every man for himself. Tailhook '91 is a prime example. Leaders who supported the childish and unprofessional actions in previous years (and participated themselves) point fingers in hopes their subordinates will take the heat and the fall, despite their cliché: leadership by example. Ms Cummings' book is another example. There have been others besides Ms Cummings - I've talked to them. Without question, their biggest obstacle was acceptance. (Similar to what gays are experiencing today in the military and blacks did when they were allowed to take other rates besides steward after WWII). One female, a Navy Test Pilot School graduate, complained that others would make comments that "women don't belong in cockpits", then realizing she was standing there, would look at her and say, "except for you." The obstacles Ms Cummings experienced are not uncommon. Nor are attitudes that "females don't belong in cockpits". When leaders think in this manner, their attitudes filter down through the ranks -- thus the roots of a mob mentality. In a multi-service survey, the biggest complaint among service members was lack of leadership. Again, Tailhook '91 is representative of such. Ms Cummings's book is also. If anyone believes she was the cause of her own misfortune, he or she is naïve concerning the inner workings of any organization like the military. I, for one, am surprised the book is so well composed and lacks the venom of an angry person. Instead her book is written intelligently and logically. There are no conclusions based on emotion - unlike what she experienced with the `professionals' of the navy. Instead, she documents her facts and conclusions thoroughly. Her complaints are perfectly valid. Hopefully, time, and this book, will assist other females who are trying to penetrate an organization so predominately male and resistant to change. Read this book to see how power can corrupt - even at the expense of one so dedicated to the mission of the military and her country.