Episode 01: From Andover to F/A-18s

Lieutenant Commander Laurie Coffey ’95 and Commander Becky Dowling Calder ’94 sit down for a conversation on basketball, the Navy, flying F/A-18s and choosing lives of service.

Laurie and Becky

Non sibi—not for self: The motto is inscribed on Andover’s seal, the Naval Academy’s chapel and in the minds of two women who were classmates at both. Commander Becky Dowling Calder ’94 and Lieutenant Commander Laurie Coffey ’95, two of Phillips Academy’s legendary athletes, could have played college basketball anywhere they wanted. They each chose Annapolis and went on to fly F/A-18 Hornets at the highest level, selflessly serving and protecting our country for the past 20 years. Why? How did Andover prepare them for the rigors of military life and contribute to their successes?

The lifelong friends returned to campus recently to celebrate Veterans Day with fellow alumni and were gracious enough to answer those question and more.

Laurie Coffey '95 Lt. Cmdr. Laurie Coffey ’95

A 1999 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Coffey earned her wings from naval flight school in 2003 and was subsequently selected to the fighter community and trained as an F/A-18 Hornet fighter pilot. She has an MA degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and has amassed more than 2,000 flight hours and 400 carrier landings. Coffey currently serves at the U.S. Naval Academy as the deputy director of the sailing program, adjunct professor in ethics and officer representative for the women’s basketball team. She was inducted into the Andover Athletics Hall of Honor in 2013 for her accomplishments in basketball and crew.

Becky Dowling Calder '94Cmdr. Becky Dowling Calder ’94

Inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004, Becky Dowling Calder is one of Andover’s all-time great Athletes and a member of the 12-letter club.

Following Andover, she played Division I basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy, graduated, trained as a naval aviator, and flew F/A-18 Hornets. Calder went on to become the first female graduate of Top Gun, the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) program. She currently serves in the Naval Reserves.

Calder was inducted into the Andover Athletic Athletics Hall of Honor in 2008 as part of the inaugural class. In 2014, her #32 was the first ever woman’s jersey retired by Navy.

Watch the 2016 Veterans Day program featuring Cmdr. Calder and Lt. Cmdr. Coffey >>

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