All-Female Flyover Honors First Female Navy Jet Pilot

Captain Rosemary Mariner paved the way for women in military aviation.

Rosemary Mariner
Captain Rosemary Mariner flew 15 different types of aircraft in the Navy, including this Grumman S-2 Tracker.U.S. Navy

Pioneering Naval aviator, Captain Rosemary Mariner, was honored at her funeral this weekend with a truly special tribute. A Missing Man Flyover, a maneuver flown by four airplanes with one departing the formation as it overflies the event, was conducted by an all-female group of Navy pilots from Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana flying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

“I find it important to honor Captain Mariner and the other female aviators who have come before us,” said Lieutenant Emily Rixey, who was one of the aviators in the formation. “They paved the way for us and they’re the reason I’m able to participate in this flyover.”

Mariner passed away on January 24 at age 65 after a battle with cancer, according to the U.S. Navy. She completed her flight training in 1974 and become the first female Navy jet pilot. Mariner flew the A-4E/L Skyhawk and the A-7E Corsair II, and retired in 1997 having flown more than 3,500 hours in 15 different types of aircraft.

Mariner was also the first female military aviator to command an operational air squadron – Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty-Four (VAQ-34) - during Operation Desert Storm. She was also among the first females to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship and logged 17 arrested landings on USS Lexington.