The first black female tactical fighter jet pilot in the U.S. Navy has historically earned her wings.
LTJG Madeline Swegle has made a career stride that will go down in history.
The U.S. Navy Aviation team released a video feature on July 28, to mark Swegle’s achievement, a few days prior to her official winging ceremony.
“I just love the fast planes,” said Swegle, who’s age was not released by the Navy.
Swegle’s Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe ‘Bullet’ Miller III called her a “courageous trailblazer”.
He said: “She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air.
“The diversity of that group with differences in background, skill, and thought makes us a stronger fighting force.”
Swegle, from Virginia, USA, is set to receive her Wings of Gold at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, on July 31st, 2020.
The news comes as the U.S. Navy announced its decision to create a task force focused on diversity and racial inequality, amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
The unit labeled Task Force One Navy, will work to “identify and eliminate individual and systemic racism within our force,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations in a statement on the Navy website.
He added: “As a Navy-uniform and civilian, active and reserve we cannot tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind.”
The Navy has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the past.
Currently, there are only “15 Black female naval aviators (that) serve in the U.S. Navy, four pilots and 11 naval flight officers.
The pilots fly either multi-engine aircraft or helicopters,” said the Naval Aviation team in a statement to SWNS via email.
“There are now 10 Black female student naval aviators in various stages of flight training.”
Swegle emulates groundbreakers like Brenda Robinson, who became the first black female aviator in the Navy in 1980. Robinson flew multi-engine aircraft.
After her final undergraduate TACAIR training flight in a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft Swegle was ‘soft winged’ at NAS Kingsville on July 7.
This accomplishment now sets her to fly fighter aircrafts such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and the F-35C Lightning II.