(CNN)The US Navy’s first Black female tactical aircraft pilot, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle, received her “wings of gold” on Friday, marking a historic milestone for naval aviation.
Swegle was named a naval aviator and awarded her gold naval aviator wings with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas, according to the Navy.”I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Swegle said.
“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 became the Navy’s first Black female strike pilot after completing tactical strike training at NAS Kingsville on July 7.
A strike pilot flies the Navy’s strike aircraft, including fighter jets like the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, or the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. “Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer,” said Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III, the commander of Naval Air Forces. “
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.”