Lieutenant Madeline Swegle, who is the U.S. Navy's first Black female tactical fighter pilot, received her Wings of Gold on Friday.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high-performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Lt. Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. “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.”
The Burke, Virginia native, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017, received her Wings of Gold with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, the Navy said.
“Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer,” Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III said in the statement. “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.”