Lt. Hultgreen was the first female naval carrier-based fighter pilot. While attending high school she received a nomination to the Naval Academy but did not win an appointment. She went on to attend the University of Texas in Austin majoring in aerospace engineering. Lt, Hultgreen was eventually commissioned by the Aviation Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. She graduated third in her class from seven students.
In 1993, the Navy began allowing women into combat and Lt. Hultgreen was selected to become one of the first women to begin F-14 Tomcat training. While she failed her first attempt at carrier qualification she passed her second attempt. Once she became qualified she officially became the first female navel carrier-based fighter pilot.
Lt. Hultgreen’s call signal was, Revlon (for her beautiful make-up) after a television appearance but her original call name was She-Hulk for her size (6 foot) and her impressive ability to bench press a considerable amount of weight.
Her death occurred in October 25, 1994, off the coast of San Diego. The investigation concluded that while attempting to land on a carrier she overshot the centerline. She then overcompensated for the error thereby losing power in the left engine. As the plane went out of control the radar interception officer seated behind her ejected himself and Hultgreen from the plane. He ejected out first (an instant before the plane turned toward the water) and was saved, Hultgreen was not so fortunate, and died upon impact to the water. She received a full military burial with honors at Arlington National Cemetery.