Thursday, July 16, 2020

Meet the first black female fighter pilot in US Navy history

A U.S. Naval officer made history last week after becoming the military branch's first known Black female tactical jet pilot - nearly 110 years after naval aviation began.

Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle broke through the glass ceiling on July 6 when she completed her training at naval flight school to become a fighter pilot.

Later this month she will receive a flight officer insignia known as the 'Wings of Gold' during a ceremony on July 31.

'BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. Swegle is the U.S. Navy's first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!' wrote Naval Air Training on Twitter.


The Naval Air Training Command said that Swegle is the Navy's 'first known Black female TACAIR pilot.'

According to Stars and Stripes, Swegle is from Burke, Virginia, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Officials said she is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.


Swegle's milestone comes more than 45 years after Rosemary Mariner in 1974 became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet and command an operational naval aviation squadron, reports ABC News.

Brenda Robinson, who earned her 'Wings of Gold' in 1908, was the first Black American female graduate from the Navy's Aviation Officer Candidate School.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally was the first woman to fly in combat for any service while with the Air Force in 1995.


 Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell became the first black female fighter pilot in the Air Force in 1999.

Kara Hultgreen became the first female carrier-based fighter pilot in 1994, as well as the first to die in a aircraft crash later that year.

But while women have served on U.S. combat ships since 1994, the Navy has faced scrutiny for a lack of diversity among pilots.

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