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Lisa Stein

Lisa Stein navigated aircraft in the Cold War and Desert Storm and served as an openly Jewish American officer in Saudi Arabia. Stein went to the University of Miami on a military scholarship and joined the Air Force on graduating in 1987, earning one of only nine navigator slots open for women. In Airborne Warning and Control Systems, she was deployed worldwide, tracking Soviets on practice bombing runs towards North America during the Cold War, protecting Saudi interests during the Iran-Iraq War, and handling drug interdiction in South America. She accrued over 1,800 hours of combat flight time in three years despite the rule that women could not fly combat missions. Deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990, Stein refused directives from military officials for women to cover their hair and for Jewish personnel to refrain from Jewish practices, feeling that her religion and identity were too important to her. Stein retired from the Air Force in 2000 with the rank of captain after the loss of her peripheral vision from exposure to oil fumes in Desert Storm made it impossible for her to continue flying.

Topics: Military

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Lisa Stein wore the traditional black gown of Saudi women, though she refused to cover her hair.

Plantation, FL
United States

Military Officer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lisa Stein." (Viewed on June 26, 2019) <>.


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