Twitter | @paigealissa

US Navy's First Black Female Fighter Pilot, LTJG Madeline Swegle, Graduates

On July 9, 2020, the US Navy announced that Lieutenant Junior Grade Madeline Swegle had completed the syllabus for Tactical Air (Strike) aviators and is graduating to become the US Navy's first known Black female fighter pilot.

The news was first officially shared in a congratulatory tweet by the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), before being reported by Stars and Stripes.

LTJG Swegle will receive her Wings of Gold at a ceremony on July 31.

Twitter | @CNATRA

Swegle graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2017 before continuing on to pursue TACAIR training. She's currently posted at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, where she is part of the Redhawks of Training Squadron (VT) 21.

LTJG Swegle's achievement went viral when photos were shared on Twitter by a friend.

Some people have questioned the use of "Black female" to describe Swegle, noting that all graduates should be congratulated and factors like race or sex should be irrelevant.

However, the fact that she is the first is very much relevant in 2020, noted many other comments.


Her position as the first known Black female fighter pilot highlights the fact that barriers still remain and Naval Aviation in particular is still almost entirely white and male.

It wasn't until 1948 that the US Military was formally desegregated.

The first female naval aviators were a group of six women in 1974.

It wasn't until l1980 that the Navy would celebrate Lt. Cmdr. Brenda Robinson as the first Black female graduate of Aviation Officer Candidate School.

The first Black female combat fighter in the entire US Military was Capt. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour of the Marine Corps, who earned her wings in 2001.

By celebrating Madeline Swegle's achievement now, we allow more kids of all races and genders to imagine themselves doing the same in the future.

Twitter | @CNATRA

Hopefully, as more and more people of any races and genders join the ranks, we'll no longer take the white, male default for granted.

Congratulations, LTJG Madeline Swegle for making history!

h/t: Navy Times, Stars and Stripes

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