Empowerment

U.S. Navy Announces First Black Woman Tactical Aircraft Pilot

Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle’s accomplishment has since been lauded by several public figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.

Facebook / Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA)

Lieutenant Junior Grade Madeline Swegle will become the Navy’s first Black woman tactical fighter. 

On July 9, the chief of Naval Air Training Command shared on Twitter that Lt. j.g. Swegle will receive her “Wings of Gold” later this month and congratulated her using the abbreviation BZ, for Bravo Zulu, which means "well done."

Swegle, from Burke, Virginia, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017 and is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Stars and Stripes first reported. Her accomplishment has since been lauded by several public figures including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.

“Congratulations, LT JG Madeline Swegle. Welcome to the best flying organization on earth” Kelly said. “Fly Navy, and fly safe!”

According to non-profit organization Women in Aviation International, Brenda Robinson was the first African American woman to earn her Wings of Gold in 1980 and become a Navy flight instructor as well as an evaluator and VIP transport pilot. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, who retired from the Air Force in 2010, is also the first woman in the Air Force to serve as the commander of any combat aviation squadron, the U.S. Air Force said.

Following criticism for its lack of diversity and accusations of racial bias, the Navy announced June 30 it had created a task force called "Task Force One Navy" to “address the issues of racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness.”