Retired U.S. Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner has died at the age of 65. Among her many achievements, Mariner was known for being the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet and the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron. She served in the Navy from 1973 until her retirement in 1997.
Mariner graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautics when she was 19 years old. After joining the Navy, she earned her wings in 1974 and began flying the A-4E/L Skyhawk and the A-7E Corsair II. In 1982, she became one of the first women to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship, qualifying as a Surface Warfare Officer. Mariner assumed command of the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ-34) based in Point Mugu, California, in 1990 during the run-up to Operation Desert Storm. Over the course of her career, she logged 17 carrier arrested landings and more than 3,500 flight hours in fifteen different aircraft.
The Navy will be conducting its first all-female flyover as part of Mariner’s funeral, which will be held on Saturday. According to the Navy, the aviators participating in the flyover are from squadrons based at Naval Air Station Oceana and will be flying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.