Tennessee senators honor first female naval aviator

Kaylah Jackson
February 12, 2019 - 11:01 am

(U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The legacy of the U.S. Navy’s first female jet pilot lives on thanks in part to Tennesee's senators.

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) filed " Honoring the life of Rosemary Mariner." The resolution states "the Senate extends its heartfelt sympathies to the family of Rosemary Mariner..honors the life of Captain Mariner; and, on behalf of the United States, expresses deep appreciation for the outstanding and important service of Captain Mariner to the United States."

In 1953, Capt. Rosemary Mariner became one of the first women to become a naval aviator in the Navy. She went on to serve for 24 years, accumulating over 3,500 military flight hours.

“Throughout her life, Captain Mariner broke barriers that paved the way for women to follow in her footsteps,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “She worked tirelessly for the equality of women in the military, leading the Women Military Aviators organization and working with members of Congress and a Defense Department advisory board to overturn laws and regulations barring women from combat." 

Mariner died in January after losing her battle with cancer.

Related: Navy’s first female jet pilot dies at 54 after losing battle with ovarian cancer

She was the first woman to fly a front-line attack aircraft and command an aviation squadron during the Gulf War. In honor of her accomplishments, Mariner was honored with an all-female crew flyover during her funeral service, the first of its kind.

Related: Meet the nine female naval aviators to flu in Capt. Mariner’s historic flyover

 “She was instrumental in the repeal of combat exclusion restrictions on women. I’m grateful for her incredible life of service,” said Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

The Honoring the life of Rosemary Mariner. “expresses deep appreciation for the outstanding and important service of Captain Mariner to the United States.”

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