LT Alex Dietrich is an F/A-18F Superhornet pilot from the VFA-41 "Black Aces" strike-fighter squadron of Lemoore, CA. She is currently serving as the aide-de-camp for VADM Harvey, Director Navy Staff, at the Pentagon in Washington DC. She accumulated over 1250 flight hours, 110 combat hours in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and 375 carrier arrested landings. Her 2005 deployment was featured in the PBS documentary "Carrier" and she speaks regularly about her experience as a Female Naval Aviator and the broader issues of Navy Diversity to a variety of audiences.
A life-long athlete, Dietrich served as captain of the George Washington University's Cross Country & Track teams, Assistant Coach of the Texas A&M University Kingsville Cross Country & Track teams, and volunteers with youth athletic programs in the local community.
"Sports are invaluable for young women. The skills I use in the cockpit I learned on the field: communication, compartmentalization, cooperation and teamwork. I value my academic experience, but I am who I am today because of my background in sports."
Dietrich maintains close ties with her alma matter, the Illinois Math & Science Academy, the internationally-recognized pioneering educational institution created by the State of Illinois to develop talent and leadership in mathematics, science, technology and engineering. The boarding high school fostered her interest in aviation and launched her full throttle into the engineering program at the George Washington University. She graduated and was commissioned through their ROTC program in 2001. She was in her first week of flight school September 11th.
" 'Per ardua ad astra,' my grandmother used to tell me. I always understood the translation 'to the stars through hardship', but I didn't REALLY get it until I was flying a night mission over Baghdad, taking her words very literally, looking up at the stars and down at the harsh situation below...and then I suddenly realized the wisdom of her words...they transcended my flight and the combat and the war. I live an abundant life with so many conveniences and instantaneous gratification, but nothing good ever comes easy. A life of purpose is only possible through hard work, perseverance, and gratitude. There's no telling how many miles you'll have to run while chasing a dream."