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Madeline Swegle makes history as the US Navy's first Black female tactical aircraft pilot

LTJG Madeline Swegle has made history by becoming the US Navy's first Black female tactical fighter pilot after 110 years of naval aviation history.

In the past, the Navy's aviation program has been critcized for a lack of diversity. According to an investigation from, only 1.9% of all pilots assigned to the F/A-18 Hornet, EA-18 Growler, E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircrafts were Black, and out of 1,404 Hornet pilots, only 33 were female and 26 were Black. 

According to the Navy Times, Swegle's completion of the tactical air training program now allows her to fly fighter planes such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the EA-18G Growler. 

Swegle's accomplishment comes many years after Rosemary Mariner became the first woman in the Navy to fly a tactical aircraft in 1974, as well as many years after Brenda Robinson became the first African American woman to earn her Wings of Gold and become a Navy flight instructor, evaluator and VIP transport pilot in the 1980s.

The Chief of Naval Air Training congratulated Swegle on Twitter, using the abbreviation BZ for Bravo Zulu (which means "well done!"):

The Navy's vice chief of information, Rear Adm. Paula Dunn, also shared her congratulations by Tweeting: "Very proud of LTJG Swegle. Go forth and kick butt." 

Additionally, Swegle recieved well-deserved congratulations from prominent public figures such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Tweeted: "Congratulations, LTJG Swegle! You make the @USNavy and our country stronger," as well as from professional tennis player Billie Jean King, who shared this Tweet of support: 

Swegle's accomplishment is an important and necessary milestone for the US Navy, one that hopefully helps move towards a future filled with inclusivity and opportunity for everyone, regardless of gender or race.  

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by Maya Camu | 7/14/2020