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U.S. Navy Officer Earns Wings of Gold

Nearly 110 years after Eugene Burton Ely took off from the cruiser USS Birmingham to begin naval aviation, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle completed Tactical Air (Strike) training and will become the first known Black female TACAIR pilot in the U.S. Navy.  She will receive her Wings of Gold later this month.

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.

In 1974, Rosemary Mariner became the first woman in the Navy to fly a tactical jet.  In the 1980s, Brenda Robinson was the first African American woman to earn her wings and become a Navy flight instructor, evaluator and VIP transport pilot, according to Women in Aviation International.