U.S. Navy Honors First Black Woman Fighter Pilot

A picture taken with the Hipstamatic application shows the patch of a US Navy combat pilot on the flight deck of the USS Harry S.Trumann (CVN 75) aircraf carrier in the Gulf of Oman on January 30, 2014. The Charles de Gaulle and the USS Harry S.Trumann (CVN 75) were conducting combined operations dubbed Bois Belleau. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ        (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Navy Honors First Black Woman Fighter Pilot

Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle will receive her “Wings of Gold” in late July.

Published July 14th

Written by BET Staff

A historic celebration is in order after the U.S. Navy honored and announced Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle the first Black woman tactical fighter pilot. 

Sharing the news July 9 on Twitter, Naval Air Training reported that Swegle, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will receive her “Wings of Gold” in late July. 

"BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air [Strike] aviator syllabus," the Chief of Naval Air Training said. "Swegle is the @USNavy's first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!"

The news comes 40 years after Brenda Robinson, became the first African-American female graduate from the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School, as told by the nonprofit organization Women in Aviation International.

Swegle’s accomplishment also follows Capt. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour who became the first Black female pilot in the Marine Corps in 2001 and the first Black female combat pilot in the entire U.S. military.

On June 30, the Navy released a statement confirming that they were working towards creating a task force to “address the issues of racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness.”

“We are at a critical inflection point for our Nation and our Navy and I want to ensure that we are fully responding to this moment as we work to facilitate enduring change,” said Navy’s Chief of Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr. in the press statement. “We must use the momentum created by these events as a catalyst for positive change. We need to have a deeper inclusion and diversity conversation in our Navy and amongst our own teams.”

(Photo credit: PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)


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