A Naval Academy graduate who grew up in Northern Virginia is making U.S. Navy history. Lieutenant Junior Grade Madeline Swegle has just become the first known Black female tactical air pilot.
According to Naval Air Training Command, LTJG Swegle completed the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus and will receive her “Wings of Gold” July 31.
Swegle is from Burke, Virginia in Fairfax County and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 2017. She is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.
Naval Air Station Kingsville is designated for undergraduate jet/strike pilot training. As a tactical air pilot, Swegel will be cleared to fly aircraft like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter or the EA-18G Growler.
The Naval Academy Superintendent calls LTJG Swegle’s accomplishment a milestone “not just in her own personal career as an aviator but also for Naval Aviation.”
“It is a significant achievement to qualify as a tactical jet pilot flying from our nation’s carriers day and night, and her success serves as an inspiration for all who aspire to be naval aviators. Fly Navy!” says U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean S. Buck.
Navy Rear Adm. Paula Dunn, the Navy’s vice chief of information, also offered praise for Swegle on Twitter, encouraging her to “go forth and kick butt.”
-Meg Walburn Viviano