When retired Air Force Colonel Kim Campbell started pilot training in 1999, women made up just 1% of the total number of fighter pilots in the United States. Despite being one of 33 women in the field, Kim went on to serve 24 years in the Air Force and completed more than 100 combat missions protecting troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
On April 6, 2003, Campbell made national headlines when her plane was hit by enemy fire during a combat support mission to Baghdad. She had to make a split-second decision to eject herself from the plane into enemy territory or attempt to fly the severely damaged plane back to safety. Incredibly, she was able to use the emergency backup system and fly 300 miles back to base in Southern Iraq. After surviving the ordeal and recovering her battle-damaged plane, she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism.
Campbell’s story offers valuable insights and lessons on high-pressure decision-making and leadership. In her new book, Flying in the Face of Fear: A Fighter Pilot’s Lessons on Leading with Courage, she shares specific strategies and techniques on how to take action and lead with courage, even during situations of extreme stress and risk. Whether you are a leader now or aspire to be one, Campbell’s story provides a powerful blueprint on how to act in critical moments while also inspiring others to greater achievement.