Madeline Swegle makes history as US Navy’s first African-American tactical jet pilot

Mohammed Awal July 10, 2020
Photo credit: US Naval Air Training

Lieutenant Junior Grade Madeline Swegle has made history as the United States Navy’s first African-American tactical jet pilot. She will formally receive her wings of gold later this month.

tweet congratulating Swegle by the US Naval Air Training read: “BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. 

“Swegle is the @USNavy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH! @FlyNavy @NASKPAO #ForgedByTheSea #CNATRA #CNATRAgrads.”

Swegle’s personal friend, @PaigeAlissa, also tweeted about the history-making feat on July 7, 2020. “Just my best friend making history,” she tweeted, captioning two photos of Swegle.

This pioneering achievement comes some 46 years after naval aviator Rosemary Mariner became the first woman in the Navy to fly tactical jets in 1974, according to The Drive. 

Mariner would eventually rise to the rank of captain becoming the first woman to assume command of an aviation squadron anywhere in the U.S. military, the outlet reported.

According to, just 2.7 percent of Navy pilots were African Americans, and just under two percent were assigned to units flying F/A-18C/D Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, E-2 Hawkeyes, and C-2A Greyhounds as of 2018.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: July 10, 2020


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