The U.S. Navy announced that Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle has become the service’s “first known Black female TACAIR pilot” and will receive her gold wings in a ceremony on July 31.
Swegle, a 2017 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, finished the tactical flight training on July 7, according to a report in the Navy Times.
“BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus with VT-21 Redhawks at NAS Kingsville, Texas,” said the Chief of Naval Air Training in a Facebook post. BZ is short for the nautical signal “bravo zulu,” which means “well done.”
“Role model for sure,” said one of many comments posted in response to the announcement.
“Very proud of LTJG Swegle,” tweeted Rear Adm. Paula Dunn, the Navy’s vice chief of information. “Go forth and kick butt.”
CNN reported that Swegle received congratulations from public figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and pioneering female tennis star Billie Jean King.
Swegle’s accomplishment “comes nearly 110 years after the beginning of naval aviation when an aircraft, flown by Eugene Burton Ely, took off from the cruiser USS Birmingham anchored in the Chesapeake Bay on November 14, 1910,” the report said, citing the official blog of the Navy.
Swegle’s accomplishment followed those of Capt. Rosemary Mariner, who became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in 1974, and Lt. Cmdr. Brenda Robinson, who earned her gold wings in 1980 and went on to become a Navy flight instructor and transport pilot, and later a commercial airline pilot, speaker, and author.