The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury have named national hero Tammie Jo Shults as the team’s 2018 Woman of Inspiration. Shults, who was one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy and safely landed Southwest Airlines flight 1380 after engine failure on April 17, will be honored during the Mercury’s matchup with the Atlanta Dream on Friday, August 17 at Talking Stick Resort Arena at 7 p.m.
“Tammie Jo’s years of service to our country as a member of the US Navy make her a hero, and trailblazing the way as one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots make her inspirational,” said Mercury Chief Operating Officer Vince Kozar. “We honor her for all of that, but also on behalf of the passengers and crew she safely landed in the face of very real danger in April of this year. We are excited to have her here.”
As part of the WNBA’s Inspiring Women platform, the Mercury annually honors one deserving candidate at a game. Shults will receive the award in a special ceremony at halftime of the August 17 game.
Shults was the first woman to fly an F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy and was awarded her final active-duty rank as a Lieutenant Commander in 1995. After leaving the military, Shults joined Southwest Airlines as a commercial pilot and safely landed Southwest Airlines flight 1380 following an engine failure on April 17, demonstrating exceptional composure, vigilance and aptitude in the face of unbelievable adversity.
Shults joins an elite group of incredible women who have been honored by the Mercury, including Robin Roberts (2007), Ali Vincent (2008), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2009), Billie Jean King (2010), Picabo Street (2011), Hope Solo (2012), Lisa Fernandez (2013), Jordan Wieber (2014), Mo’ne Davis (2015), Holly Rowe (2016) and Gabby Giffords (2017).
WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi and 2017 WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner return to Phoenix this summer to lead the Mercury in a quest for the franchise’s WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets for Woman of Inspiration Night on Friday, August 17 and the rest of the Mercury’s 2018 home games are available online at PhoenixMercury.com or by phone at 602-252-WNBA.