Meet Amy Tomlinson, Commander, U.S. Navy Reserves
- Naval Flight Officer
- First female aviator selected to serve with the Blue Angels, Blue Angel #8 the teams event coordinator
- Graduated from USC with a BA in Public Relations, and received her MBA from Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business
- Served as a RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) flying in the F-14 Tomcat, and served as WSO (Weapon Systems Officer) Flight Instructor flying in the F/A-18F Super Hornet
- Flew 33 combat missions during her deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Currently elected City Council member for the City of Pacific Grove, CA.
- Currently works for Concentric Power Inc. as Project Development Director.
Amy Tomlinson grew up in Carlsbad, CA. She was surrounded by friends and family members that served in the US. Navy. Her father was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. Military life was familiar to her, but she never considered a career in the Navy for herself until college. Amy discovered her university’s ROTC program during her freshman year and decided to try it for a semester. Tomlinson ended up loving it and thought “Yep, let’s do this, I’ll go into the Navy.” Tomlinson notes that joining the military at 18 is a big decision, but because she had grown up around it, she was comfortable with the lifestyle and like-minded people. She was commissioned the day of graduation and headed to flight school in Pensacola, FL to become a NFO (Naval Flight Officer). She was winged in November 2001.While in flight school, Tomlinson remembers watching the Blue Angels practice every Tuesday and Thursday and that planted a seed. After flying a few combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Tomlinson’s Commanding Officer asked her “Have you ever considered applying to the Blue Angels when the time is right?” In which Tomlinson expressed that she wanted to be in the Blue Angels, but because she wasn’t a pilot, she figured she would not be able to achieve that. To her surprise, Tomlinson’s CO said that there was a back seater position on the Blue Angels team, which is the events coordinator, and that he felt she was ideally suited to fill. His encouragement lit the dream, and in 2009, she applied for the position and was selected, becoming the first woman aviator to serve with the Blue Angels. Tomlinson recalls that job as being one of the busiest and most demanding she ever undertook, but she loved every minute of it and is still close with all of the people she served with.
Eventually, Tomlinson decided to go into the Navy Reserves and raise her two children in California. During this time, she used her GI bill to get her Master’s in Business from Santa Clara University and was elected to the City Council of Pacific Grove. Tomlinson used her experiences during this time to figure out what she wanted to do next in her career. She realized that whatever she did she needed to believe in the mission and the people. For the past two years, Amy has worked for Concentric Power, Inc. an innovative clean energy company that designs and builds large scale microgrids used to provide local power in a redefined reliable way. Tomlinson enjoys her work with the company and believes in the mission whole heartedly. In addition to her work with Concentric Power, Tomlinson volunteers as an inspirational speaker talking to different groups about her story and hoping to inspire others in whatever their field may be. Tomlinson recalls that the mission of the Blue Angels was to inspire dreams and not just put on a fancy airshow, so whenever she sees the opportunity to continue mentoring or encouraging others, she is happy to do it.
Amy Tomlinson’s extraordinary career is encouraging to those who are considering a career in aviation, but are not sure how they can achieve that. Tomlinson was able to be successful in aviation despite having a degree in the arts and not having perfect eyesight. As a woman, Tomlinson recalls being completely accepted by her peers in the military and wants young people to know that the military has come a long way, and the opportunities for women are there. She encourages others to voice their dreams and pursue different ways to achieve them because you never know what could happen unless you try.
Commander Amy Tomlinson’s name has been added to the F/A 18 Hornet, Blue Angel #7. The museum’s newest addition to our flight line.