The following blog post was co-written by Rachel Barry and Ashlee Smith.
Tammie Jo Shults’ path to a career in aviation was strewn with naysayers. She says, “It really came down to motivation and merit. What was my motivation for being there and my merit? Was I good enough to be there?”
Tammie Jo kept going when there was no applause to keep going. Her first memory of aviation was watching it. Growing up near an Air Force Base in New Mexico, Captain Tammie Jo Shults knew two things from an early age: She wanted to serve her country, and she wanted to fly. Through her service with the Navy, she was able to be among the first group of women that were flying tactical aircraft in the military.
She met her husband while she was an instructor, and today, more than 30 years later, they are both Pilots for Southwest Airlines. As Captain of Flight #1380 last year, Tammie Jo says, “All of us learned things about ourselves. And one of those things is our habits become our instincts. So, guard your habits. Make sure that when you make a habit of something it's a good habit because that's what kicks in.”
Above everything, she learned the importance of hope. It was hope, to be in the sky someday, that inspired her to pursue a career in aviation, and it is hope that keeps her going today. “Hope doesn’t take no for an answer. Hope pushes through.”