Meet Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt: The First Woman To Command A Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier In US Navy History


The Navy has selected a woman to command a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for the first time in American history.

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt was selected for the position by the fiscal year 2022 aviation major command screen board. Other officers who were picked for nuclear aircraft carrier command include Capts. Colin Day, Gavin Duff, Brent Gaut, David Pollard, and Craig Sicola.

Naval Air Forces confirmed the historic selection on Monday, though it’s not known at this point which of the Navy’s 11 nuclear-powered carriers Bauernschmidt will command.

This isn’t the first time Bauernschmidt has made history. In 2016, she became the first female executive officer of a nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. As such, she was second-in-command of a crew of about 5,000 people.

Bauernschmidt graduated from the Naval Academy in 1994, the same year women were allowed to serve on combat ships and planes.

“That law absolutely changed my life,” Bauernschmidt told CBS News in 2018. “We were the first class that graduated knowing and feeling honored with the privilege to be able to go serve along the rest of our comrades in combat.”

After receiving her wings as a naval aviator in 1996, Bauernschmidt flew with the Helicopter Ant-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 45 “Wolfpack” in San Diego. She deployed with the destroyer USS John Young in support of maritime interdiction operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

Since then, Bauernschmidt has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours in naval helicopters aboard various aircraft carriers throughout her career, according to her official Navy biography. Her missions have taken her from Alaska for Exercise Northern Edge to Southwest Asia for Operation Enduring Freedom. She completed the Aviation Nuclear Officer program before taking up her XO post aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. The sailor also commanded the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego from November 2019 to October 2020.

Service is about “contributing to something greater than yourself,” Bauernschmidt told CBS News.

“For me, it is about supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States. But it’s also about these young men and women that I lead every day,” she said. “They’re pretty awesome.”