The US Navy is honouring a barrier-bursting aviation pioneer with the 1st ever all-female flyover

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raymond Maddocks/US NavyThe US Navy will conduct the first ever all-female flyover to honour the legacy of Capt. Rosemary Mariner, a pioneer of Naval aviation.
  • Rosemary Mariner was 20 years old when she was selected, along with seven other women, to fly military aircraft.
  • It was the first of many glass ceilings the Navy captain would shatter throughout her 24-year naval career.
  • Following her death on January 24, the Navy will honour her with another first – an all-female flyover during her funeral.


Rosemary Mariner was one of the first eight women selected for military pilot training in 1973

National Archives & Records AdministrationEns. Rosemary Conaster (later Mariner) works at her desk

Mariner graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautics. She was 19 years old.


When she completed training and received her pilot’s wings, she was the first woman to ever fly a tactical fixed-wing aircraft.

National Archives & Records AdministrationEns. Rosemary Conaster (later Mariner) in the cockpit of a fleet composite Squadron Two, VC-2, S-2 tracker antisubmarine aircraft.

Although she was an aviator, she was also one of the first women to serve on a Navy warship, the USS Lexington, and earn the Surface Warfare Officer qualification.

National Archives & Records AdministrationEns. Rosemary Conaster (later Mariner) makes pre-flight checks of the main gear of a fleet composite squadron two, VC-2, S-2 tracker antisubmarine aircraft.

She later became the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron.

William H. Lipski/Department of Defence/LIFE Collection/Getty ImagesCapt. Mariner was the first woman to ever fly the A-7E Corsair II, pictured here on the deck of the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier in 1991.

The A-7 Corsair was an attack aircraft designed to launch and land on aircraft carriers, which entered service during the Vietnam War.


Over her illustrious career, Mariner logged over 3,500 hours in 15 different aircraft.

Naval History and Heritage CommandCapt. Rosemary Mariner retired in 1997.

To honour her legacy, the US Navy announced it will conduct a Missing Man flyover during her funeral.

According to the US Naval Institute, “the manoeuvre features four aircraft flying above the funeral service in formation as one of the aircraft leaves the formation and climbs vertically into the heavens.”

Mariner died after a 5-year battle with ovarian cancer, according to her obituary. She was 65, and is survived by her husband and “wingman” retired Cmdr. Tommy Mariner, and daughter Emmalee, who attends Duke University.

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