NORFOLK, Va. - To honor the life and legacy of a female pioneer in Naval aviation, the U.S. Navy conducted the first ever all-female flyover, Saturday, Feb. 2 in Maynardville, Tennessee. Officially referred to as a “Missing Man Flyover,” the tribute was a part of the funeral service for retired Navy Captain, Rosemary Mariner, who passed away on Jan. 24 following a long and brave fight with cancer.
After completing flight training in 1974, Mariner was designated a naval aviator and received her Wings of Gold to became the Navy’s first female jet pilot, flying the A-4E/L “Skyhawk” and the A-7E “Corsair II”. She also was the first female military aviator to achieve command of an operational air squadron. During Operation Desert Storm, Mariner commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty-Four (VAQ-34). In 1982, she reached yet another milestone by being among the first females to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship, USS Lexington, and qualifying as a Surface Warfare Officer.
Mariner retired from the U.S. Navy in 1997 after obtaining the rank of Captain and logging seventeen carrier arrested landings, or “traps,” and completing over 3,500 flight hours in fifteen different aircraft.
The Missing Man Flyover is a special tribute honoring the service of aviators who have died serving their country. The maneuver features four aircraft flying above the funeral service in formation as one of the aircraft leaves the formation and climbs vertically into the heavens.
All of the aviators that participated in the flyover are from squadrons based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana flew F/A-18E/F “Super Hornets.”
The participants are:
- Cmdr. Stacy Uttecht, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron Thirty-Two (VFA-32)
- Cmdr. Leslie Mintz, Executive Officer, VFA-213
- Lt. Cmdr. Paige Bloc, VFA-32
- Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Thiriot, VFA-106
- Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Hesling, NAS Oceana
- Lt. Christy Talisse, VFA-211
- Lt. Amanda Lee, VFA-81
- Lt. Emily Rixey, Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic
To hear interviews from the aviators who took part in the flyover click on the links below