The US Navy will present the first black woman pilot with its Wings of Gold today for the first time in its 110-year history.
Lieutenant Madeline Swegle, a native of Virginia, celebrated her success when she finished her US training. Earlier this month the Naval Academy.
Swegle said in a video released by the Navy in advance of her July 31 ceremony.
“I don’t think the goal in my life is to necessarily be the first at anything. That was never something that I set out to do, it was just something I was interested in and I found out later,” she said.
After her parents took her to see the Blue Angels, Swegle first realised she wanted to become a pilot.
“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,” she said. “They were just so cool I loved them. I love fast planes.”
Swegle said she was motivated by her early love of fast planes to become a pilot, but found her three years of training both “daunting” and exciting in a higher-performance aircraft.
“It was crazy to be in such a higher performance aircraft,” she said. “I was really excited on the takeoff, like feeling the exhilaration and getting thrown back in the seat a little bit.”
“It took a lot of fighting the aircraft to figure out how it was going to perform,” she said. “Looking back it’s amazing to think about where I started and I had never been in an airplane before so, it’s just one step at a time. It’s really cool to think of all of the things that I’ve done now which I’d never thought that I’d be able to do.”