NAS KINGSVILLE, TX — The U.S. Navy’s first Black female fighter pilot has earned her wings, according to the service. The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), Rear Admiral Robert D. Westendorff, USN, celebrated LTJG Swegle for her achievement writing:
“BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. Swegle is the U.S. Navy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!” — CNATRA via Twitter
CNATRA trains and qualifies more than 1,000 naval aviators and naval flight officers each year for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and international partners. CNATRA is also responsible for the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
Student Naval Aviator LTJG Madeline Swegle, USN, is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron (VT) 21 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas. In our cover photo, she is shown after exiting her T-45C Goshawk training aircraft following her final flight completing undergraduate Tactical Air (Strike) pilot training syllabus on 07 July 2020.
Upon graduating from the TACAIR training program on 31 July 2020, LTJG Swegle will move on from training aircraft to Navy tactical planes, like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter ( shown above).
LTJG Swegle, a 2017 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (USNA), follows a path forged by the late pioneering Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner, who became the Navy’s first female tactical pilot in 1974. Mariner went on to become the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron. Earnng her wings in 2001, United States Marine Corps Captain Vernice Armour was the first African-American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces with two tours in the Gulf. bt