S. Navy marks a significant milestone for Naval Aviation after the first Black female tactical air pilot received her Wings of Gold on July 31.
Lt. j.g. Madeline G. Swegle from Virginia received her Wings of Gold along with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” said Swegle.
“It would’ve been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it’s encouraging to other people.”
Swegle completed her tactical strike training at NAS Kingsville on July 7, making her the Navy’s first Black female strike pilot.
A strike pilot are trained to fly fighter jets including the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, or the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.
According to the commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Admiral DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III, “Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer.”
“She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air. The diversity of that group — with differences in background, skill and thought — makes us a stronger fighting force.”
Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff, who oversees all undergraduate flight training from the command headquarters at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas expresses how proud they are of Lt. j.g Swegle and the entire class.
“This is a wonderful personal achievement but also a testament to their dedication and drive to succeed in the tactical air training pipeline. I wish them all every success at the next level learning to fly our fleet aircraft.”
The Chief of Naval Air Training’s primary task is to train the world’s finest combat quality aviation professionals.