Former F/A-18C Hornet pilot and Principal Correspondent for the Fox News Channel, Lea Gabrielle, sits down with FighterSweep for 6 questions.

FighterSweep had the privilege of sitting down with Fox News Principal Correspondent Lea Gabrielle to discuss what else–Fighter Jets!–and, of course, a whole host of other things. FS readers will enjoy her perspectives on reporting about national security, women in fighter aviation, and what it’s like being a pilot. We also got her to give us an “I was there” story–and it involves a night trap on the boat. Yikes!

A US Naval Academy graduate from the class of 1997, Lea served as an F/A-18C Hornet pilot with the VFA-83 Rampagers assigned to CVW-7.  She deployed on USS George Washington (CVN-73) and flew missions over Iraq and Afghanistan for Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom. She also spent time embedded with SEAL teams as an intelligence officer. Needless to say, we had to talk with her.

These days you can see her regularly on the Fox News Channel as Principle Correspondent for Shepard Smith Reporting.

FS:  Many folks may not know that you flew F/A-18 Hornets off of aircraft carriers before you were Principle Correspondent for Shepard Smith Reporting on the Fox News Channel. So what’s it like reporting on military action instead of being directly involved? 

Lea: From my experience both as a fighter/attack pilot in the air, and later on the ground directly supporting Navy SEALs, I know how important it is that those who wear combat boots have their voices heard and their perspectives understood in news reporting.

As a correspondent, I am not there to achieve an objective like in the military, I’m there to beobjective: to observe and report honestly. Mistakes are not as catastrophic in a life-or-death sense, but they are when it comes to my reputation as a journalist. It is a very different environment, but nonetheless a truly demanding and personally rewarding experience.

I was always an operator in the military, so when I’m reporting on our young men and women going into harm’s way, I naturally want to be there with them.  I can no longer do that, but I am so grateful for the young patriots who are willing to do our nation’s bidding to keep us safe here at home.  It’s an honor to be able to report on the work they do to protect us.

My goal as I report on military topics is always to honor them ….by getting it right.  Our American democracy was built on the expectation of an educated citizen and voter, and I believe that’s my greatest responsibility as a journalist.  I have to gather the most accurate information and pick out the most important details to keep the public informed.