The U.S. Navy Just Announced Its First-Ever Black Female Tactical Jet Pilot

The U.S. Navy just announced its first Black female fighter pilot in 110 years of aviation. 

Just months after The Bachelor cast its first Black lead and NASCAR named Brehanna Daniels as its first Black woman in a pit crew, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle made history by becoming the Navy's first-ever Black female tactical jet pilot following the completion of her Tactical Air (Strike) aviator training this month. 

The chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) announced the news on Twitter Thursday, July 9, congratulating Swegle on the completion of her training and giving her a "BZ" or "Bravo Zulu," which apparently means "well done."

The Navy also confirmed she will receive her gold wings in a ceremony later this month.

The tweet included photos of Swegle wearing her pilot's uniform and posing in front of a military airplane.

The achievement makes Swegle the first known Black woman who has been certified for the TACAIR mission. She's now authorized to fly fighter aircrafts such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler or F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, according to Military.com.

The Virginia native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017 and is currently assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas, according to military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Rear Adm. Paula D. Dunn, the Navy's vice chief of information, praised Swegle on social media following the announcement, writing, "Very proud of LTJG Swegle. Go forth and kick butt."

Scott Kelly, a retired astronaut and naval aviator, also congratulated Swegle on Twitter. “Welcome to the best flying organization on earth,” he wrote. "Fly Navy, and fly safe!"

Swegle's sister Sophie applauded her sibling's achievement as well, tweeting, “Just my older sister being a boss every day of her life. Proud of her doesn't even cover it.”

Her history-making accomplishment comes nearly 50 years after Rosemary Mariner became the first woman in the Navy to fly tactical jets, according to Stars and Stripes, and 25 years after retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martha McSally became the first woman to fly in combat.

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