• Katie Higgins is the first female pilot to join the US Marine Corps’ Blue Angels demonstration team.
• She began her military career as a small girl, growing up in a family with a strong military legacy.
• She has flown to Afghanistan, worked in Uganda and taken part in the evacuation of US citizens from South Sudan.
• She is married with two children and has an estimated net worth of $400,000.
• Blue Angels entertain around 11 million spectators each year with their air shows featuring speeds of up to 700 mph.
Who is Katie Higgins?
Katie Higgins is an aircraft captain, and the first ever female pilot to work with the Blue Angels, the US Marine Corp’s flight operation that normally does demonstrations.
Early Life, Age, Family, and Education Background
Katie was born in 1980 in Severna Park, Maryland USA into a military family, as her dad and two of her grandfathers served in the military. At first Katie wanted to be a nun, but later changed her mind and decided to follow in her family’s legacy. She attended the W.T. Woodson High School from where she matriculated in 2004, Later, she joined the USNaval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland from where she graduated with a BSc. in Political Science in 2008, and was commissioned a US Marine Corps Second Lieutenant. She later joined Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and in 2009 graduated with a Masters of Arts in International Security.
In November 2009, after her graduation, Katie reported to the Pensacola Naval Air Station for her aviation indoctrination. She successfully completed her initial T-6B Texan II flight training at NAS Whiting Field found in Florida and proceeded for her intermediate and advanced training. For these two, she was assigned to Training Squadron 31 (VT-31) in Texas’ NAS Corpus Christi. In October 2001, Katie finally got her wings of gold. Katie was then trained to fly C-130S Hercules, an aircraft for transporting cargo normally to war-torn places.
Professional Career as a Pilot
Katie’s military career began when she was just a small girl growing up in her hometown, and enjoyed watching military planes since they lived next to a military base. The planes fascinated the young girl and interest in flying them was sparked in her. Katie is a third-generation military pilot in her family who seems like she was meant to become a marine from birth. Her dad was a fighter pilot flying F-18 in the Navy while her paternal grandfather served in Vietnam and Korea during the World War II. To carry on with her family legacy, Katie joined the Marine Corps upon her graduation from the Naval Academy. In her line of work, she has flown to Afghanistan as one of the few women marine aviators on combat missions, worked as an operational in Uganda, and also played part in the evacuation of US citizens from war-torn South Sudan. While working in Africa, Katie got an unexpected call from a member of the Blue Angel, and was invited to apply as an elite member of this demonstration team. Although back then she was just a junior captain, she took a bold step and applied for the slot.
Before she could qualify for this job, Katie had to meet all the service and flying qualifications required of all the team members, submit a wordy application and also attend a number of shows to meet her prospective teammates. The final step involved conducting a formal interview in front of a panel made up of 16 people which she considered this to be the most intimidating part. In September 2014, she formally joined the Blue Angeles after she was selected to be part of five-person Fat Albert crew, the first ever female pilot to join the team. This team flies the Lockheed C-130 Hercules carrying equipment and personnel. Fat Albert always opens every airshow where millions of spectators converge to watch it every year. Katie loves her job of demonstrating the C-130 to huge audiences. Working with Blue Angels, Katie has flown for over 1,000 hours and received many decorations including personal and unit awards as well as five Air Medals. Her decision to join the naval Blue Angels has earned her worldwide recognition.
Katie had never dreamt of breaking the gender barriers which is what she did when she joined Blue Angels as the first woman, however, she considers this to be a very important milestone in her career, and believes that this is a great move for how more women could be integrated into combat ground forces.
Her kind of job comes with numerous risks which could sometimes prove fatal. For example, her team lost one of their member, Captain Jeff Kuss, after his F/A-18 Hornet was involved in an accident and crashed while he was practicing for an airshow in Smyrna, Tennessee. Katie described Jeff as a great leader, an amazing marine, father, husband, and aviator who had a calm demeanor and great communication skills.
Personal Life, Married, and Children
Talking about Captain Higgins, she is a now married woman – her husband’s name is Ian Higgins, a naval graduate and a certified pilot flying military helicopters and other ‘planes.
The couple has been blessed with two children, however, very little is known of these children as the couple has kept details such as their gender and age hid from the prying public eye. It is not known when Katie gave birth to their children, but she has previously stated that she and her navy husband were raising their two babies.
Katie Higgins Net Worth
Most of Captain Katie’s income has been accumulated from her piloting job. Since she started her career, she has managed to rise in the ranks. This has translated into more income. Although her annual income has not been disclosed, authoritative sources estimate her net worth to be around $400,000. With such a promising career, this figure is expected to increase in the near future.
— Katie (Higgins) Cook (@gearupflapsup) November 11, 2018
Interesting Facts about Blue Angels
If you do not know much about the incredible air demonstrations that Blue Angels carry out, here are some amazing facts. The formation of a demonstration team was called by Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, just after World War II came to an end. Blue Angels first ever demonstration took place in Jacksonville Florida in June 1946. The name was adopted by the original team after they visited NYC’s Blue Angel nightclub, when they were planning to hold a show over the city.
Each year, Blue Angels get a chance to entertain around 11 million spectators who come out to view their air shows. Their jets get as close as 18 inches to each other during the show doing the Diamond 360 maneuver. They also fly as low as 50 feet or as high as 15,000 feet with the speeds ranging between 120 mph and 700 mph by solo pilots. All Blue Angels applicants are required to be active-duty Marine or Navy Corps pilots, carrier-qualified, and have flown for at least 1,250 hours. Their mission is to demonstrate the professionalism and pride of the US Marine and Navy Corps through inspiring a service and excellence culture to the nation using their flight demonstrations.