You may not know who Captain Rosemary Mariner is, but you should – especially if you’re interested in aviation – or the women who broke the barriers to fly high themselves. Captain Mariner died on January 24th at the age of 65 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was a Texas native who served in the Navy for 24 years.
Among her many achievements, Captain Mariner is the first woman to ever command an operational air squadron in the U.S. Navyand one of the first women ever to pilot a tactical jet aircraft. And at her Maynardville, Tennessee funeral over the weekend, Mariner was also honored with a flyover – but not just any flyover…the Navy's first-ever all-female flyover, which is officially referred to as the Missing Man Flyover. In this case, the choice of all female pilots made perfect sense:
As she broke new ground for women beginning with joining the Navy at 19 and being one of six women who were the first to enter the Navy’s flight school in 1973 when they finally allowed women.
Then in 1978, Mariner became the first female fighter jet pilot in the Navy after a court ruling declared the policy preventing women from serving on Navy ships to be unconstitutional.
Mariner went on to become the first woman to serve on a Navy warship,
then she served on the Staff of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon.
Rest well, Captain Mariner…you’ve earned it.
And by the way? Because Captain Mariner would surely want people to know their names, the women following in her history-making steps with that all-female flyover? Commander Stacy Uttecht, Commander Leslie Mintz, Lieutenant Commander Paige Blok and Lieutenant Commander Danielle Thiriot...