Lt. Kara Spears Hultgreen, USN
(1965 - 1994)
Lt. Spears was the first female fighter pilot to qualify in carrier operations - to launch and recover jets on an aircraft carrier. Sadly, she was also the first female fighter pilot killed when one of the engines of her F-14 (the same kind of plane from Top Gun) stalled, causing it to roll, while attempting to land on the USS Abraham Lincoln CVN72 - the same ship I reported to 2 months later.
There was a lot of to-do about whether or not females had been trained well enough to actually be qualified to fly fighter jets. Some felt the female pilots had been qualified prematurely and incompletely trained, for political reasons. The other female pilots felt this was a smear campaign, to keep women from competing for pilot positions.
Today there are female fighter pilots, but not as many as you'd expect. They are still fighting for their place amongst men who still will not consider them their peers.