Tags: Veterans | navy | female | pilot | rosemary mariner

All-Female Flyover to Honor Navy's First Woman Fighter Jet Pilot

four eff sixteen jets fly over head in missing man formation
An F-16 missing man formation flyover (Danese Kenon/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:36 PM

For the first time in military history, the Navy is deploying a ceremonial flyover with only female jet pilots to honor the death of retired Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy's first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.

The missing man flyover will take place during Mariner's funeral service Saturday in Maynardville, Tennessee. Mariner, 65, died Jan. 24 after a five-year fight against ovarian cancer.

"She shaped generations of people with that confidence in them and helping them find their path," Katherine Sharp Landdeck, a historian of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II and a professor at Texas Women's University who was friends with Mariner, told NBC News.

"She was a bada$$ pilot, too. Landing on carriers? That's pretty bada$$. You're not just landing a jet. You're landing a jet on a runway that's rising up and down in the seas, and I think as a woman doing it, you've got everybody on deck watching. Very cool under pressure."

Mariner's husband of nearly 39 years, ret. Navy Cmdr. Tommy Mariner, told NBC Newsan all-female flyover would flatter his late wife, but she "certainly would not say that that component is necessary."

"It's wonderful that the Navy can do that, and it's good that they have that many women where they can fill out all the cockpits with women," he said. "But that would not be a requirement for Rosemary."

The daughter of a Navy nurse and an Air Force pilot who had died in a plane crash when she was 3, Mariner got her private pilot's license at 17, and an aeronautics degree from Purdue University in 1972 when she was 19.

She was in the inaugural class of women who earned their Navy wings in 1973 and became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in 1974.

In 1982, she was among the first women to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship, and in 1991, during the Gulf War, she became the first woman to command an aviation squadron. 

Later, she was instrumental in the repeal of combat exclusion restrictions on women, NBC News reported.

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The Navy is deploying a ceremonial flyover with only female jet pilots for the first time, honoring the late Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy's first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.
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2019-36-31
Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:36 PM
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