In the News
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 Military.com, 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!"):
BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. Swegle is the @USNavy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH! @FlyNavy @NASKPAO #ForgedByTheSea #CNATRA #CNATRAgrads pic.twitter.com/FKSlURWQhJ— Naval Air Training (@CNATRA) July 9, 2020
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:
Congratulations to LTJG Madeline Swegle who has become the @USNavy's 1st Black female fighter pilot.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 11, 2020
Her accomplishment comes more than 45 years after Rosemary Mariner became the 1st woman in the Navy to fly tactical jets in 1974.#RepresentationMatters https://t.co/07AVMYgglg
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.
Images via Facebook.com/CNATRA.