Back to Squawk list
  • 46

U.S. Navy's first Black female fighter pilot gets her wings

Lieutenant Madeline Swegle, who made history as the U.S. Navy's first Black female tactical fighter pilot, received her Wings of Gold on Friday. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Paul Lander 42
I look forward to a day when neither the colour of a person's skin nor their gender evokes any comment. In the meantime, congratulation on achieving something most of us can't even dream of achieving.
Not much aviation discussed here. As ex Air Force Lt from the 60s I can remember almost no black officers much less female pilots much less black female officer pilots. Congratulations to her and let’s get on with keeping our military strong.
Jack Poole 3
Tom Bruce 12
anyone else getting tired of "first ......" ? happy for her.. wish her luck
billatq 14
I am, but only because this took a ridiculously long time. Like seriously, it's 2020, this shouldn't be news because it should have happened in the past. As she put it from the article: "I never intended to be the first."
Tom Bruce 3
yeah....good point

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Wow! No laws prohibiting Blacks from being fighter pilots? Change your TV Channel from Fox News for a minute and read a book of American history. If you aren’t comfortable reading (like that other guy we know) watch the WW II movie “Red Tails”. There is still a member of that celebrated unit alive and he was sitting next to Melania Trump at the last State of the Union. Seriously, though do some homework before you post, otherwise you end up looking foolish.
The Fox News comment in your post took all your credibility! Good luck in your little cocoon!
Will Samples 4
At NAS Pensacola in Officer Candidate School class 09-77, I was in the class behind the first class that included women. I became friends with one of them. The Navy treated them with respect. Their fellow classmates treated them as equals. It was amazing to see them on base and realize how special they were but at the same time how they were treated like everyone else.

Well done Lt.Swegle.
I'm so happy for Lieutenant Swegle,! It is just a shame that the color of her skin, or that her gender should be included in her ccomplishments....

I flew many missions (A/C) with Navy pilots...It never entered my mind what color, or what gender they were...I just knew they were the BEST....and they would bring me home.....And they always did..And they ALWAYS did!!
harlie 4
Black _AND_ female! Now, that's news!
Congrats for passing all tests ans exams!
I suppose, she simply got her wings because she's good, not because she's black, or female, or anything else.
Sorry to burst bubble, but if Lt. Swegle just received her wings she is not a "tactical fighter" pilot, at least not yet. She now has to go through fighter RAG, a months long process, most likely flying both single and two seat older F-18 models and perhaps some time at the end in Super Hornet. Syllabus will include ground school on F-18 systems, weapons,navigation, air-to-air, air-to-ground, aerial refueling and carrier qualification. If she successfully completes she then will be assigned to an active squadron and at that point will be a tactical fighter pilot.
I should have added that Lt. Swegle being selected for fighters means she had to have had excellent reviews and grades going through Navy Flight School and odds are high she will successfully complete RAG syllabus. My congratulations to her for that achievement.
Phil Nolden 2
Unfortunately, these days politics play a big part in achieving "firsts". Back in the dark ages when we were in a war in SE Asia, ALL graduates of USAF pilot training were qualified for fighter assignments, having successfully completed the T-38 syllabus. Not everyone actually got a fighter assignment right out of UPT, due to the need to keep other aircraft flying, but when we graduated we were all qualified.

Having said that, I certainly hope that this young lady successfully completes her fighter quals.
Phil Nolden 2
Well, if she just got her wings she isn't a fighter pilot - yet. Hopes she makes it, but first she has to make it through transition training on the F-18 (presumably), and carrier quals - then she'll be a Navy fighter pilot.
LethalThreat 2
Who cares. Why does everything need to be about race, color, or gender? I’m sure she earned it and I wish her the best with her career. Thank you for your service Lieutenant.
airuphere 2
Because for years it’s been about race, color and gender. Hard to see when you’re a white male. Speak I from experience.
airuphere -6
*speaking from
LethalThreat 2
I haven’t heard of any such thing. If you are smart and are the best candidate for the job, you get accepted. There should never be any freebies because you are a certain color or race. I have always had to earn my way into higher positions despite being white. Knock off the bullshit with this race nonsense.
airuphere 0
What a load of crap. If you can’t look around briefing rooms, board rooms, hell private hospitals and see that your population is not equally represented, you are part of the problem. Not saying it’s your fault; however, as one needs to shift their perception to see inequity - which is hard to do.
airpound69 -5
America is a white country, therefore on various poditions in society there will be more whites than blacks, just like in African countries there are more blacks than whites in various positions.

Now you’re gonna talk about the amount of blacks behind bars, right? Well, that has to do with actions and free will and unless you come up with an unbiased study that clearly proves that whites comit as much or more crimes (punishable with prison sentences long enough to matter) than blacks, you cannot claim there’s any racism here. That statistic also better only take into account trialed cases because everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

“One needs to shift their perception to see inequity” - no, saying that implies your ideology is the absolute truth, which is not. Furthermore, this is how brainwashing works: forcing people to see things according to what you want them to think.

Here’s a history lesson about victimhood: hitler made every german feel like a victim of an oppressive system and created a disgraceful regime infamous for many human rights violations. Instead of recognizing germany messed up and changing thier lives was only up to them, hitler blamed jews, blacks and everyone else who didn’t fit his “perfect human model” for their failure and killed those people or tortured/enslaved them . The left is using the same trick nowadays.

Here’s a piece of advice: if you wanna help black communities, instead of calling everything racist, how about you go there help to remove gangs, build schools, hospitals or do any other voluntary work like that?
airuphere 0
I also never said anything about freebies. So you think this lady got her job as a freebie. That is racist.
LethalThreat 2
Re read my original post again. I clearly said she earned it and I wish her the best in her career. African Americans are 13% of the population, whites are nearly 70%. If there’s more whites in various positions throughout the nation, that’s accurate to the percentage they make up of society. You are a kook if you feel there is racism everywhere, there isn’t.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Lesley Child 3
May I suggest you read "Fearless Leadership' by Carey D Lohrenz and then cogitate on "no laws...lack of interest."
For discussion's sake, the clock would start ticking with Congress allowing women combat roles including fighter and bomber aircraft starting in 1993. Jeannie Flynn Leavitt was the first fighter pilot. Shawna Kimbrell became the USAF's first black female fighter pilot in 2000. Stayce Harris is the USAF's first female 3-star general. I'm sure one day there will a black female combat aircraft wing commander (F-16, F-15, or F-22). Come a long way, still a ways to go.
I remember the whirlwind of news articles about me when I got my Navy Wings back in 1971 since I was the first in my family to become a pilot and get those Wings of Gold! Wait, that didn't happen. I was just some white kid from Georgia! Oh well congrats to one of the newest Naval Aviators!
Shadowstarz 1
BRAVO ZULU SHIPMATE!!!!!! Don't let any of the naysayers drag you down! No matter what they say!!! If you're the first, then you're the first!!! WOOOYAAAAA!!
Congratulations, I would say please leave her alone, all the fuss is not doing her any good. My son is not even allowed to become an officer in the Army because his dad is a foreigner. Yet he passed and made it to become a first officer in the national airline carrier of the country of his mother where he was born and raised. He has my foreign family name. My guess was that he would be not even pass the first of 9 exams because of his name, but he made it. By the way that airline does not allow female pilots to apply :( Feel sorry for some of his classmates, told them they should not accept this as it is against the law.
zorychta 1
And if it would have occurred 20 years earlier, you would have said the same thing; always moving the goal post.
ferminbf 0
Why is it important to mention the color of her skin??
airpound69 -6
Given men and women are equal, given blacks and whites are equal, what’s with all the fuss? There haven’t been any laws prohibing blacks or women from doing anything for centuries now.. If there weren’t black women fighter pilots, it’s because they didn’t choose this goal, not because anyone stopped them from doing it.

Don’t get me wrong: I congratulate Lt. Swegle for her achievements and I’m just as happy for her as I’m happy for everyone else who achieved the same goal, but this article is pure leftist intersectionality propaganda.

By the way, if there’s systematic racism in America right now, how come this news piece exists?

Equality is everyone giving the same treatment and respec to everyone, plus there being no differentiation in legal treatment, no matter your phenotype. Giving special treatment because sexuality, gender or skin color - no matter what that sexuality, gender or color is - is not equality, it’s an exercize in supremacism.
weecosse 5
What??? Perhaps a refresher on racism in the U.S. would help, Enrique. There is a vast difference between what the law says about equality and the way that equality is practiced. Look at the Tuskegee Airmen and the other Black servicemen and women who served in WWII. Things are improving but they still need to get better.

Firsts are a very big part of American culture. They always have been and probably will remain - it is part of what 'lubricates' our desire to improve ourselves and to progress.
airpound69 1
And what exactly is this “vast difference” between what the law says and the reality? A generalization of something that happened like 70 years ago? That’s an exception, my friend, and as such, it doesn’t justify the current “systematic racism” narrative that implies inequality is the rule, when it’s clearly not.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due: the fact you’re not even considering that white people suffer racist attacks in such broad scale nowadays is perhaps a sign that inequality isn’t really practiced like the Law says it should.

How about a little lesson in history, David: hitler chose to blame the problems of Germany on blacks, jews and anyone who didn’t fit his “ideal race model”, resulting in the greatest human rights violations of our history - all based on the idea that people with different phenotypes were somehow responsible for problems they didn’t have anything to do with. The modern left has been getting dangerously close to that nazi ideology nowadays.

But what do I know: if you want power, rather than actually doing something good, it’s much easier to tell a group of people they are opressed, make them enemies with all other groups and you’re the only candidate who’s able to protect them.
Charles Boyd 1
Was she given special treatment? Or are you just talking without knowledge?


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.