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Mission Love:
Married combat couple jets around

the Hirschmans

July 10, 1996
Web posted at: 10:30 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Jennifer Auther

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- In a hearty toast, Harry and Loree Hirschman sheepishly gaze at one another as their glasses clink.

"Here's to the Navy: brought us together and keeps us apart," says Harry.

The Hirschmans aren't your typical couple. They're combat pilots for the U.S. Navy. Both are lieutenants. They're one of the Navy's first couples to fly combat planes at the same time.

The Navy's slogan might go: "It's not just a job. It's an adventure." But for the Hirschmans, it's "been there, done that."


planes

He flies an F-18; she darts around in an S-3 Viking. They met in flight training school in Kingsville, Texas, in 1990 and were married in Ojai, California.

But now they don't even live together. He's based at Lemoore Naval Air Station in central California; she's about 350 miles away in San Diego.

But they manage. The long waits are made easier via E-mail, snail mail, care packages and the telephone.


Loree

"I guess since we don't live together, it's kind of unique," Loree says laughing. (99K AIFF or WAV sound)

He adds, "It gets kind of crazy!" (102K AIFF or WAV sound)

Regardless, both are all smiles, especially since Loree is living out her dream as a combat pilot -- made possible thanks to a 1993 law change that allowed women to fly in combat.

Harry

Loree says she entered at the "perfect" time. (49.5K AIFF or WAV sound) Harry agrees, praising the women who paved the way for his wife to fly. (88K AIFF or WAV sound)

In the meantime, they'll keep jetting around in what truly is a hunka, hunka burning love.

"There's no traditional role," Harry says. "We've established our roles in the relationship as equals, as peers."

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