Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award

Streaming Media

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-20-2023


Capt. Elizabeth “Spike” Malecha ‘90

Elizabeth Malecha is an accomplished military officer dedicated to service and leadership.

After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1994, she was in the first wave of women allowed to defend our nation in combat military roles. After completing flight training, she became a Radar Intercept Officer in the F-14 Tomcat. Flying missions from aircraft carriers across the world, she developed as a leader and a combat aviator in support of our national objectives and defense. Her talent and work ethic resulted in her selection for elite training at the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School and she became the first female graduate of TOPGUN in 2001. Elizabeth’s next assignment was to instruct current and future generations of fighter aviators to train, fight and win under pressure and in hostile environments. In addition, she paved the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.

After leaving active duty, Elizabeth continued to lead and serve as a Naval Reserve Officer since 2009 in a variety of roles. She holds the rank of Captain and is currently serving in support of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet home-ported in Naples, Italy.

Elizabeth is motivated by nature, advocacy, and service. Living in Stockholm, her recent activities include informational engagements with Swedish military and high school students, leading an English as a second language group for military attaché spouses, and exploring the country’s magnificent landscape through the nascent Swedish sport of swimrun.

She received her B.S. in ocean engineering from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from California State University.



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