March 2012 l Polk City, Florida. Former U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion pilot and Beechcraft C-12 Huron instructor Stacie Rine was one of the panelists at Fantasy of Flight‘s 2012 edition of Breaking All Barriers: Amazing Women in American History symposium.
Ms. Rine first became interested in pursuing an aviation career after taking a flight in Polk County, Fla. She soon joined the Civil Air Patrol. Stacie took lessons in a Cessna 182 and earned a Private Pilot rating. After joining the U.S. Navy, she began naval flying training at NAS Pensacola before being assigned to NAS Corpus Christi. Stacie flew Beechcraft T-34 Mentors and subsequently advanced to P-3s at NAS Jacksonville.
A 1995 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Ms. Rine indicated that she found her fellow panelists, representing the World War II generation, very inspiring. She could relate to their personal accounts of entering occupations, both civilian and military, that were up to that point dominated almost totally by males.
At the time Stacie attended the Naval Academy, the student body’s female component was under 10 percent. Afterward, she was the only female in her flight training class. Once “winged,” Ms. Rine noted that she “was the only woman in her squadron and later the only female C-12 instructor.” Stacie vividly recalls having “quarters equipped with urinals, and wearing male uniforms and men’s boxer shorts when approved female clothing was unavailable.”
After earning her wings, Stacie deployed to the Persian Gulf. With the Cold War essentially over and submarine detection becoming more difficult, the aging P-3s undertook reconnaissance and intelligence gathering roles. Ms. Rine proudly recalls patrolling above SEAL teams and sending real-time information directly to them. At times the missions were dangerous. Stacie remembers flying low at night, only a few hundred feet above the ground, while her crew fed data down to special forces personnel below.
Stacie Rine left the service in 2008 having attained the rank of lieutenant commander. A wife and mother of two children, Ms. Rine serves as the Director of Business Development for SUN ‘n FUN in Lakeland, Fla.
Joining Ms. Rine to relate their histories and experiences were three role models. They were Donaldean “Donna” Hooker, a riveter in a Consolidated B-24 Liberator production facility, Norman Catherine Tucci Canney of the Women’s Army Corps and Barry Smith, a Women Airforce Service Pilot.
The author (John Stemple) wishes to thank Stacie Rine for graciously granting him an interview.