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US Navy officer becomes first Black female fighter pilot after nearly 110 years of naval aviation

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.  
Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle (pictured) last week became the first Black female fighter pilot after completing naval flight school
Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle (pictured) last week became the first Black female fighter pilot after completing naval flight school 
Swegle (pictured)  has been assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas, and will receive her Wings of Gold on July 31
Swegle (pictured)  has been assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas, and will receive her Wings of Gold on July 31

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.
Swegle (right) is from Burke, Virginia, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017
Swegle (right) is from Burke, Virginia, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017
The Naval Air Training Twitter account shared photos o f Swegle and congratulated on her the big accomplishment
The Naval Air Training Twitter account shared photos o f Swegle and congratulated on her the big accomplishment 
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. 
Just under 2.7 per cent of pilots with the Navy maritime squadrons were Black in 2018, Military.com reports. Additionally, less than seven per cent of Navy pilots are female, Pensacola News Journal reports.
It also comes two years after two Black male pilots claimed they were kicked out of the tactical air program because of their race. 
This caused Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, the commander of Naval Air Forces, to call for reforms among the branch.
On June 30, the Navy revealed it created a task force named 'Task Force One Navy' to combat 'racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness.'
 'As a Navy -- uniform and civilian, active and reserve - we cannot tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind. We must work to identify and eliminate individual and systemic racism within our force,' said Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday in a statement.
Several public figures have spoken out to congratulate Swegle on her historic accomplishment.
Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy's vice chief of information, told Swegle to 'Go forth and kick butt.' 
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also chimed in on Twitter. 
'Congratulations, LTJG Swegle! You make the@USNavy and our country stronger,' she wrote.  
Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy's vice chief of information, told Swegle to 'Go forth and kick butt.'
Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy's vice chief of information, told Swegle to 'Go forth and kick butt.'
Legendary tennis player Billie Jean King praised Swegle and noted 'Representation Matters'
Legendary tennis player Billie Jean King praised Swegle and noted 'Representation Matters'
Comedian D.L. Hughley shared news of Swegle's achievement on social media and shared the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic
Comedian D.L. Hughley shared news of Swegle's achievement on social media and shared the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic 
Sen. Kamala Harris of California also chimed and told Swegle 'You’re paving the way for young girls everywhere.'
Legendary tennis player Billie Jean King responded to the fantastic news by noting 'Representation Matters' and comedian D.L. Hughley wrote 'Black Girl Magic.' 
Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut and Navy captain, welcomed Swegle into the military family.
'Welcome to the best flying organization on earth. Fly Navy, and fly safe!' wrote Scott.  
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday told Swegle that she 'make[s] the US Navy and our country stronger'
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday told Swegle that she 'make[s] the US Navy and our country stronger'
Sen. Kamala Harris: 'You’re paving the way for young girls everywhere'
Sen. Kamala Harris: 'You’re paving the way for young girls everywhere'
Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is also a Navy captain, told Swegle to 'Fly Navy, and fly safe!'
Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is also a Navy captain, told Swegle to 'Fly Navy, and fly safe!'
Swegle's achievement comes as the country has a renewed focus on inclusivity and equality amid Black Lives Matter protests over the death of George Floyd.   
Several companies, departments and institutions have made efforts to correct course.
In early June, ABC News put a top diversity executive on administrative leave over allegations she made racially insensitive comments geared at several staffers, including Robin Roberts. 
One week later the Editor-in-Chief of Variety, Claudie Eller, took a two month leave after dismissing a minority reporter who called her out for a lack of diversity in the newsroom.
The Black Lives Matter protests began in late May and have continued for nearly two months nationwide. 

4 comments:

  1. Not to throw any water on her accomplishments, but she's not a "fighter" pilot yet. She may eventually become one, but she isn't one yet. She may have selected to go to a fighter for her follow on aircraft, but for now, she just is getting her wings after completing the jet pipeline. Assuming she has been selected to go fly a fighter aircraft, like the F-18 as I think that is the only one being flown by the Navy at this time, she'll go to the " F-18 RAG" for several months and learn to fly that aircraft. It's there she'll get air-to-air fighter combat training. IF she passes that training, then she'll be assigned to a fighter squadron and officially become a fighter pilot. She's about 8 months away from that official designation.

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  2. She looks great for her age. 110 years as a naval aviator.

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  3. When I had seen the picture of her standing next to the trainer aircraft where's the fighter jet? she just flew?

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  4. Don't you like the fact that brown people like to murder other brown people abroad by droppig bombs on them?

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