United States Navy’s First Black Female Fighter Gets Her “Wings Of Gold”

Lieutenant Madeline Swegle is set to finally receive her wings. She will be making history as the U.S. Navy’s Black woman tactical fighter pilot in early July, Swegle was awarded her Wings of Gold during a ceremony on Friday (July 31). 

The news was first shared on July 9 on Twitter, as Naval Air Training reported that Swegle, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will receive her “Wings of Gold” in late July.

“My parents raised me and they told me that I can be whatever I wanted to be. We would go see the Blue Angels when they were in town,” Swegle says in an official video. “They were just so cool I loved them. I just love the fast planes.”

Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017, according to Stars and Stripes, Swegle is currently assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas.

“I know that I had to work to get [the jet] to behave, and it took a lot of fighting the aircraft and figuring out how it was going to perform. It really is rewarding having the plane do whatever you want it to.”

Swegle completed her undergraduate training in a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer and says that flying a jet is both challenging and exhilarating. 

“It’s fun because it is difficult at the same time. I know that I had to work to get [the jet] to behave, and it took a lot of fighting the aircraft and figuring out how it was going to perform,” she explained. “That was exciting. It really is rewarding having the plane do whatever you want it to.”

When it comes to her historical milestone and her hopes of other Black women to go after their dreams, Swegle says, “representation is important because we are a very diverse nation.”

“I hope that my legacy will be that there will be a lot of other women and minority women and just different faces that come forward,” she continued. “Be encouraged and just know that they have all the tools that they need, and follow their dreams.”

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