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During the famous Briefing Room introduction scene of Samantha Carter in the season 1 episode "Children Of The Gods", she mentioned spending over 100 hours in enemy airspace during the Desert Storm. But the thing is that in the USA women were banned from serving on combat aircraft until December of 1991, while the Gulf War finished earlier that year in February. So how could her words be true? A plot hole? Or it was meant to be so? Other variants?

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    ... It's classified. – Omegacron Mar 16 '15 at 14:17
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Here's a few articles which show what kind of a role women played during Desert Storm aboard aircraft. I'd say she could have been a non-combat pilot, or otherwise served in an aircraft during the war.

First of all, an article called "Military Women Pilots" states "Even though women aviators flew during Panama, Grenada and Desert Storm their presence was somehow "excluded" from combat records." She could have flown therefore, but not a combat aircraft. The same article also states that a woman pilot gave her life during Desert Storm, the first woman flying a plane to die in combat.

Secondly, an article on the Navy's Website states "Many (Women in Desert Storm) flew helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft. It's very likely that Carter could have been serving on one of these vehicles, perhaps even piloting one.

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    As far as she's not from the Navy but from the Air Force the second version doesn't really apply here, but the first sounds really plausible. – LarrinCole May 1 '11 at 15:39
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    @LarrinCole: That's true enough, but I suspect that if it applies to one branch, it'll apply to all... Navy just came up first, that's all. – PearsonArtPhoto May 1 '11 at 15:52
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According to the Fandemonium novel Stargate: Atlantis #10 - Nightfall Samantha Carter was flying F-15 Eagles during Operation Desert Storm. This plane was used as an air-to-air strike aircraft in the early days of the war, then as an air-to-ground platform after the Iraqi airforce stopped flying sorties.

If the situation had been reversed, the Wraith craft would have already been ashes; but that wasn’t how it was playing out. Sam had been at the helm of ill-fated craft before, from a gut-shot F-15 Eagle during Desert Storm to a blast-damaged Goa’uld Death Glider, and more besides. She had a pilot’s innate feel for a wounded bird, and the Aegis was hurt bad, she could sense it.

Rather confusingly we learn in Stargate SG-1 #4: City of the Gods that she was the RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) for Captain James 'Cobra' Burnett during the Gulf War. This obviously isn't the 'helm' position described above, although it's plausible that she changed to a front-seat role at some point during the conflict.

Her polite smile turned into a grimace when she shook his outstretched hand; the damned burns hurt. "`Cobra' Burnett?" She'd RIO'd for the 'Cobra'- then Captain Burnett - during the Gulf War. He'd never done her the disservice of treating her like a woman. Or a scientist.

Interestingly this is all contradicted by a subsequent novel by the same publisher; Stargate Atlantis - Legacy #4: The Furies where we learn that she wasn't flying combat ops at all.

When she was twenty two she’d been in Saudi Arabia, part of the build up called Desert Shield. Her top ten class rank at the Air Force Academy had at least won her that. Not a top posting to a top squadron, not F-15s or F-16s, the best of the best, even though she had more than earned it, but at least she could shuttle a Warthog around behind the lines. Congress forbade women to fly in combat positions. It didn’t matter how much she deserved it or how well she had done, or even how much her superiors wanted to give her the chance. Congress said that her uterus disqualified her. The American public would not stand for women being killed.

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