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Shoot Like a Girl

One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front
Narrated by: Cynthia Farrell
Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

On June 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar was shot down while on a medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve....

After being commissioned into the US Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan flying combat search and rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device.

But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge - to eliminate the military's Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their longstanding record of doing so with honor.

In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the listener on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.

©2017 Mary Jennings Hegar (P)2017 Recorded Books

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Profile Image for Pat
  • Pat
  • 10-03-17

You will laugh, cry, and be amazed.

Would you consider the audio edition of Shoot Like a Girl to be better than the print version?

I did not read the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

MJ did not hold back, she put her story out there for all to see, and experience. It took a lot of guts to cover the subjects she did. I loved the story about Jager, sometimes when humanity fails you, your pet (fur-baby) can keep you on track.

What does Cynthia Farrell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her tone and inflection at stressful parts vs times when MJ was being self reflective helped keep me in the moment.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The part about MJs father, not the biological one. The part about Jager. The parts about Zerk.

I've listed briefly the moments, i don't want to spoil the story for others, if you've read the book you'll know.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the best books i listed to in a while.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 21-05-17

Absorbing

This is the memoir of Air Force Major Mary Jennings Hegar. She was a rescue helicopter pilot. She had successfully rescued hundreds of men and women off the battlefield. Hegar had served three tours in Afghanistan. The author briefly covers her time in high school and ROTC in college. Most of the book is about her time in military service.

Hegar tells of being shot down during a rescue mission. She was also shot by the Taliban. She fought through her injuries to save the three Americans that were the target of the rescue mission and her own team. Their ordeal culminated in a daring escape hanging onto the skids of a Kiowa helicopter. Major Hegar was awarded the Purple Heart. She was the sixth women to receive The Distinguished Flying Cross and only the second women ever to receive it with the Valor Device.

As exciting and interesting the combat part of the book was, the real story happened when she returned to the States. Hegar had to fight the military for access to combat related Veterans Services. After she stopped flying, she was refused a job she applied for in the Air National Guard. The reason for refusal was she was a woman; otherwise, she was qualified for the job. She had to sue the Secretary of Defense that the Combat Exclusion Policy was unconstitutional after all she had spent three tours in combat in Afghanistan even if the military ignored it. She won the case. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed gender discrimination from the military. Any position depends on meeting the qualifications for the job; and, if qualified, cannot be refused based on gender, race or religion.

The book is well written and is easy to read. There is a little violence and some foul language, but a teenager could read the book with no difficulty. The author does go into the sexual discrimination/harassment she had to endure during her flight training and during her service years. I believe I read that a movie is being made from the book.

The book is almost eight and a half hours long. Cynthia Farrell does a good job narrating the book. Farrell is an actress and audiobook narrator.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Burke
  • 17-04-17

Fighting Prejudice with Actions & Intelligence

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A well-written/read book that shows the obstacles that faced one woman trying to become a pilot in the military. A courageous and DETERMINED woman, the author was unflinching it telling her story with its high points and lows. You would have to be a complete fool not to want to have Mary Jennings Hegar on your team.

What did you like best about this story?

The book provided behind-the-scenes insight into the vast amount of physical and mental training required by the military of its soldiers. [The author was very careful to coordinate her revelations in the book with the Department of Defense to insure that she was not compromising any internal or mission elements.] A team that works well together and knows its strengths and weaknesses can literally save lives. It should be a no-brainer that effective team work is the cornerstone of what the military is all about. An "effective team" is defined by competency, dedication and willpower. Gender, race, religion, etc. have no place in this definition.

Which character – as performed by Cynthia Farrell – was your favorite?

Mary Jennings Hegar was the biographical "star" of the book. Cynthia Farrell made you think the author was reading the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was comforting to see that many of the men and women with whom she worked were honest, dedicated and high character individuals. It was discomforting to see that there was a military component with deep-rooted elements of male insecurity that adversely effected their ability to see the professional attributes of their female counterparts, and, like it or not, the military is not without its sexually predatory element. Back in the days when this story took place the "Good Old Boy" command network ignored or covered up many wrongs that should not have been allowed/condoned. I know the military is working hard to correct this situation, but it is still a problem that has to be aggressively addressed (zero tolerance) and monitored.

Any additional comments?

Not to detract from this excellent narration, there were several real-world pronunciations (PACAF, Ramstein, AFB, etc.) that were incorrect. I have heard this sort of mispronunciation of military terms, abbreviations or locations in several other audio-books not associated with this book. It would add to the realism of military narrations if the audio narrator could ask the author for pronunciation guidelines for unique words.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • leighann montoya
  • 20-03-17

thank you for your service then and now

A beautifully written, honest reflection of what it means to go through hell and come home. With war and with any military service you never come home the same. The Warrior's Spirit forever lives inside of you. Thank you for continuing to fight for the female warriors of our country so that have their warrior spirit is defined by there actions and courage and not their gender,
Warmest regards,
Leighann Montoya
Former US Army Sergeant ,91B combat medic. Mom of two warrior young women

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • rwind
  • 16-03-17

Awesome! It would be my honor to salute you Ma'am!

If you care about the security of our nation you are duty bound to read this book. Carry on soldier.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Quinn's mom
  • 10-10-19

Self surviving

MJ- as she referred to herself, clearly wrote this book to promote herself. There were many wholes throughout her story. If you decide to get this, imagine it as a fictional book as much of it appeared to be.

The narration was fine minus the pronunciation of many locations mentioned.

(AF retired)

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  • James Hunsberger
  • 17-08-19

Great Story....Horrible Narration

Great story but the narrator really made it painful to listen to. The horrible narration took away from the story.

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  • A Brown
  • 04-06-19

Can't we all do something like MJ

Audiobooks are my daily salvation from my work as a linguist. I spend days on end reading and writing. I'm a translator. I live in the US, but English is not my native language. After a long day's work of translating, I set my Audible.com timer to ONE hour of listening -- trust me, without it, it's a pain to find out where you were in the story after you fall asleep. With this particular book, however, I quickly realized that one hour a night would not cut it by a long shot. So I reset my listening timer to a much longer interval. It did not help, either. I stayed up all night and had to re-arrange my schedule (luckily, I'm a freelancer, and I get to do this without losing my job).
MJ Hegar's account is captivating from so many angles. Her biological dad being abusive (ok, didn't happen to me, but my parents divorced right about the same time). Her stepdad being the guiding beacon in her life (oh, yeh, happened to me too, I just gave his eulogy). I wanted to hug her. And then the Yaeger story... sobbing.
Then her various attempts to be the best she could be, only to find out that that was not enough. Been there too. All my GPAs are 4.0, and it seems to be scaring people off... I could relate to her at various levels, but she always topped everything I ever achieved and/or got mad at...
Then her flying skills. My husband is a veteran and an airline pilot. Suffice it to say, I've had some very interesting discussions with him.
I relate to MJ in many ways, and at the same time, I could never do what she did. I couldn't help listening to her...
If you want me to point out a flaw in her telling, I noticed only a personal one. She refers to "the tap" many times. It was only through my veteran husband that I was able to find out what that means. Powerful!
I stand in honor of this brave woman, who has clearly defined her life to be that of service. And serve she did. Kudos.
As for her writing, her accounts do not sound like those written by ghost writer. Her writing is authentic and gripping, even if it may not warrant the Pulitzer award. She has done it all... warrior spirit... resilience against all odds... and happy love in the end. A life fully lived. A story well told. Thank you MJ.

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  • Becky Strassner
  • 05-05-19

Amazing true story of MJ Hegar

MJ is an inspiration not only to all fighter pilots, but to women everywhere with her warrior spirit. MJ continues her fight in running as a Texas Senator advocating for us all. I met her last year, and she is the real deal-down to earth, caring, and genuine.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-04-19

So wanted to like this but...

I ended up nearly hating this book and resenting MJ! One of our book club members recommended this book and since I couldn’t get to a book store to purchase it in hardback or paperback, just decided to download it. Huge mistake! Narrator made every male sound like a neanderthal without a brain and I could barely get through to the end!

MJ was so egotistical and proud of herself. Granted, she has a lot to be proud of, but every accomplishment seemed to come at the expense of someone else or simply because she was thwarted by a man and trying to prove something. I so wanted her to succeed and tell us how she helped other women come up after her. Instead, I ended up feeling like she was the be-all, end-all for women pilots and intelligent women serving in combat! No one else could ever possibly measure up to her example.

Huge disappointment. Certainly did not feel like an empowering book for women or girls,which is what I was hoping for.