After 110 years of aviation, the United States Navy welcomes its first Black female tactical jet pilot.
According to the U.S Navy, Lieutenant, Madeline Swegle, a native of Virginia, completed the rigorous undergraduate Tactical Air Strike pilot training on Tuesday.
The chief of naval air training tweeted out, “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!”
Lt. Swegle, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017, is certified for the TACAIR mission and is eligible to fly fighter jets such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G, or Growler.
Lt. Swegle milestone comes as pilots have said the Navy’s aviation community needs more diversity.
In 2018, Military.com’s study revealed that Black pilots are rare in the service, particularly in fighter units, and according to the Pensacola News Journal, less than 7% of aviators were female pilots.
Currently assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas, Lt. Swegle will receive her gold wings at a ceremony slated for July 31.