U.S. Navy welcomes 1st Black female Tactical Aircraft pilot

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The U.S. Navy has welcomed its first Black female Tactical Aircraft pilot.

“MAKING HISTORY!” the U.S. Navy tweeted July 9 in response to a post that Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle had completed naval flight school and would later this month receive the flight officer insignia known as the “Wings of Gold.”

The Naval Air Training Command tweeted that Swegle is the Navy’s “first known Black female TACAIR pilot.”

According to Stars and Stripes, Swegle is from Burke, Va., and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017. She is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.

The Chief of Naval Air Training congratulated Swegle with a “BZ,” or “Bravo Zulu,” a naval term meaning “well done.” The Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, shared the tweet, adding his own congratulations.

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Congratulations poured in from different people, including Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy’s vice chief of information. “Very proud of LTJG Swegle,” Dunn wrote via Twitter. “Go forth and kick butt.”

(Courtesy image)

The announcement comes more than four decades after women first received their wings in the Navy. Capt. Rosemary B. Mariner, the first woman to command an operational naval aviation squadron, earned her wings in 1974, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Brenda Robinson, who earned her wings in 1980, became the first African American female graduate from the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School, according to the nonprofit organization Women in Aviation.

Swegle, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is receiving an outpouring of praise and support for her achievement.

“Very proud of LTJG Swegle,” wrote Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy’s vice chief of information, via Twitter on Thursday. “Go forth and kick butt.”

Pioneering athlete Billie Jean King, comedian D.L. Hughley, Sen. Kamala Harris and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly were among those who also congratulated Swegle.

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