Making history: US Navy welcomes first black female tactical aircraft pilot

The US Navy has welcomed its first black female tactical aircraft pilot.

Lieutenant JG (junior grade) Madeline Swegle has completed naval flight school and will be awarded her flight officer insignia, known as Wings Of Gold, later this month.

The Naval Air Training Command said on Twitter that Lt JG Swegle is the Navy’s first known black female TACAIR (Tactical Aircraft) pilot.

The US Navy has welcomed its first Black female Tactical Aircraft pilot - Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle
Image:Lt JG Swegle graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2017. Pic: US Navy

She is from Burke, Virginia, and graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2017, according to US military publication Stars And Stripes.

She is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.

Swegle’s sister Sophie shared the navy’s post on Twitter, writing: “Just my older sister being a boss every day of her life. Proud of her doesn’t even cover it”.

Naval aviation is dominated by white men – according to a investigation in 2018, there were only 26 black pilots out of the 1,404 who flew the F/A-18 and less than 2% of all pilots on jet platforms were black.

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Last month the navy announced a task force to look at racism, sexism and other discrimination within its ranks.

Lt JG Swegle’s milestone comes after Rosemary Mariner in 1974 became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet, according to reports.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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