U.S. Navy’s First Black Female Tactical Jet Pilot Earns ‘Wings of Gold’ [video]

Lt. j.g. Madeline G. Swegle, of Burke, Virginia, received her Wings of Gold and became the U.S. Navy’s first black female tactical air (TACAIR) pilot on Friday.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Swegle said, adding, “It would’ve been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it’s encouraging to other people.”

Swegle was designated a naval aviator and received her Wings of Gold with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas.

Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III said she was a “courageous trailblazer.”

“She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air. The diversity of that group—with differences in background, skill and thought—makes us a stronger fighting force,” Miller said.


The U.S. Navy’s first Black American female naval aviator, Brenda E. Robinson, earned her wings in 1980. Robinson became the 42nd woman to be designated a naval aviator, the U.S. Navy said.



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