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USNA Notable Graduate: Mikie Sherrill

Jan 18, 2023 10:00:00 AM

It’s not unusual for USNA graduates to pursue several varied career paths after leaving the U.S. Naval Academy. Many serve in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps and rise in the ranks through their tireless service of our country. After that, they might pair time in the Navy Reserve with a civilian career—or retire from service and embark on an entirely new adventure in the public or private sphere. Mikie Sherrill is one such graduate. Not only did she achieve a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, but she was just re-elected to serve New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District as a U.S. Congresswoman. She also fulfilled many other important roles along the way. Here is her inspiring story.

Born to Fly

Rebecca Michelle “Mikie” Sherrill was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and attended South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia. She then went on to the Naval Academy and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 1994. From there her career took flight. Sherrill’s grandfather was a WWII pilot, and from a young age she was inspired to follow in his flight path. She rose to the challenge and graduated from flight school as one of the pioneering members of the first class of women who were eligible for combat. 

Sherrill then began flying missions across the Middle East and Europe as a U.S. Navy H3 Sea King helicopter pilot. During this turbulent time, she was an integral part of the Battle Watch Floor in the European Theater that took place during the Iraq invasion. She also had the honor to serve as a Flag Aide to the Deputy Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Not only did she fulfill these duties, but Sherrill also put her Russian Studies to work as a Russian policy officer at the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Navy, Europe, helping to put U.S. nuclear treaty obligations into place. She also oversaw the U.S. Navy and Russian Federation Navy relationship.

From Pilot to Lawyer

Sherrill received her Master’s degree in Global History from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2003. That year, she left the Navy and entered Georgetown Law School, receiving her J.D. degree in 2007. She was hired by Kirkland and Ellis in New York City, and worked from 2008-2011 as an associate in the litigation department. Following that, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey as an Outreach and Reentry Coordinator, and then in 2015 became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.  

As an Outreach and Reentry Coordinator, Sherrill created programs that fostered a mutually trusting relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve; she also designed programming that helped people leaving prison secure gainful employment, dependable housing and essential education—all for a second chance. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherrill prosecuted federal cases, advised law enforcement regarding investigations and labored to get illegal guns off New Jersey streets. During this time, Sherrill and her husband, Jason Hedberg, also an accomplished USNA graduate, have been raising a family of four children in the historic town of Montclair, New Jersey.

Serving the Public

In 2018, Sherrill ran for public office for the first time and won. She was re-elected in 2022, and currently serves New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, which includes several populous counties right outside of New York City. As a mom of four, she advocates consistently for New Jersey’s families, focusing on lowering the high cost of living for northern New Jersey families, protecting our national security, honoring and defending our military veterans and families, and promoting the kind of national unity that makes our country and communities strong.

Sherrill has authored over 20 pieces of bipartisan legislation to combat the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap to cut New Jersey homeowners’ taxes, enhance the healthcare system, bolster national security, help veterans,and improve the lives of working families. One recent win is her PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, which was just signed into law—and makes life-changing and life-saving therapy service dogs more accessible to veterans with PTSD.

Committee Commitments

In Congress, Sherrill is on the Armed Services Committee; she works to make sure  Picatinny Arsenal is equipped with the resources it needs for the state-of-the-art research and innovation that ensures our service members’ safety. She is also on the Science, Space and Technology Committee; this has given her a vehicle to help advocate for greater federal resources to ameliorate harmful algal blooms at Lake Hopatcong, as well as provide Superfund remediation. Sherrill also serves on the Education and Labor Committee, where she strives to help grow current and future New Jersey jobs leveraging vocational and technical education. 

A Life of Service

Sherrill’s work in the military, private and public sectors shows a clear willingness to serve her country. She has noted, “Serving this country has always been the honor of my life….” As a Navy pilot, she was thrust into dangerous situations far from home. Her work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and in the private sector continued her service to others, especially those facing challenges. As a congresswoman, Sherrill strives to help her district’s citizens use their voices to create a strong community where everyone is valued and can succeed. 

We honor her work and the work of all of our notable graduates, who make a difference in this world every day. We are humbled to witness their untiring dedication to others, and to bring the honorable pillars of USNA tenets into the world to help others. 

Come visit the Yard and walk the pathways these USNA notable graduates once walked. Be inspired by the breathtaking Beaux Arts buildings and the bustling midshipmen that give their all to serve our country. All profits from the shops, restaurants and tours of the Yard, go back to the Brigade. Please support those who support our country. We offer a sincere thank you to the USNA notable graduates and the future USNA notable graduates who currently walk the Yard now.

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Bill the Goat
Written by Bill the Goat

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