Madeline Swegle is set to become the U.S Navy’s first Black female tactical fighter pilot.
What We Know:
- According to the Navy Times, her completion of the tactical air training program paves the way for her to fly fighter jets such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, or the EA-18G Growler.
- The Chief of Naval Air Training saluted Swegle with a “BZ” on Twitter which stands for “Bravo Zulu,” a term used by the Navy 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
— Chief of Naval Air Training (@CNATRA) July 9, 2020
- Swegle’s history-making accomplishment comes nearly 110 years after the beginning of naval aviation when an aircraft, flown by Eugene Burton Ely, took off from the cruiser USS Birmingham anchored in the Chesapeake Bay on November 14, 1910.
- According to the Naval History and Heritage Command website, women have only been flying jets for the Navy for forty years. One of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots, Captainn Rosemary Mariner said, “In modern warfare, the emphasis is not on physical strength but on brain power operating sophisticated weapons systems”. She added, “A machine gun is a great equalizer”.
- Swegle is a Virginia native who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017. Her unit is currently the Redhawks of Training Squadron based in Texas. However, she will go on to be assigned to a team of strike fighters.
- Her father, Carey Manhertz played basketball for the Navy. He posted on Twitter, “It’s official. My daughter, Maddy continues rise”.
It’s official. My daughter, Maddy continues rise. Story follows: https://t.co/OZvnveoAKa
— Carey Manhertz (@cmanhertz) July 9, 2020
- Senator Kamala Harris also chimed in with praise tweeting “Congratulations Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle! You’re paving the way for young girls everywhere.”
Congratulations, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle! You’re paving the way for young girls everywhere. https://t.co/DCUiWJJUPw
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) July 10, 2020
- Just last month, the Navy announced that it had created a special task force called Task Force One Navy to “address issues of racism, sexism, and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness”.
Swegle will receive her Wings of Gold in a special ceremony on July 31.