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Honoring Veterans: Navy Veteran Kathryn Hire

Kathryn Patricia “Kay” Hire was born in Mobile, Alabama, in August 1959. She studied at the United States Naval Academy and received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Management in 1981; later, she earned a Master of Science in Space Technology in 1991 at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Hire’s service began in the U.S. Navy when she was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 1981; in 1982, she earned her Naval Flight Officer Wings. Over her career, she accumulated 3,400 hours in flight, some of which include her three year experience in teaching student Naval Flight Officers. Hire’s naval career also included worldwide airborne oceanographic research missions where she flew to 25 different countries.

Notably, Hire was the first woman in the U.S. military to be assigned to a combat aircrew when she served as part of Atlantic and Caribbean operations aboard the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft in May 1993. Prior to that, in January 1989, Hire left active duty and joined the Naval Reserve as a Naval Reserve officer. In the same year, she started a new career as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center.

Hire was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 1995, and was a crew member on two Space Shuttle missions. Her first mission was aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-90 Neurolab as a flight engineer in 1998. Her second mission was in 2010 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour for STS-130, which contributed to the 32nd visit for the assembly of the International Space Station. She retired from NASA in 2019 with a total of 711 hours in space.

Hire has received awards for her military service, which include the Defense Superior Service Medal and several Meritorious Service Medals. She has also received a NASA Exceptional Service Award.

We honor her service.

Nominate a Veteran for Honoring Veterans

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s Honoring Veterans social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to ne******@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Chelsey Dinh

Editors: Ethan Oleson, James Bisceglia

Researchers: Charmonie Baugh, Kelsey Burchard

Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley

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