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A Historic Memorial Service: The U.S. Navy’s First Ever All-Woman Flyover Tribute

by Linnea Crowther

“Missing Man” formation honors the late Captain Rosemary Mariner.

Pioneering U.S. Navy aviator Captain Rosemary Mariner died Jan. 4, 2019, after an impressive military career. She was the first woman ever to fly a jet for the Navy, making history as she flew the A-4E/L Skyhawk and the A-7E Corsair II. Her funeral Feb. 2, 2019, in Maynardville, Tennessee made history, too, when a group of Navy aviators performed a flyover in tribute to her service. The historic part? It was the first flyover squad entirely made up of women.

The U.S. Navy introduced the women who flew in Mariner’s honor via Facebook on Thursday. They were Lt. Cmdr. Paige “PUFN” Blok, Cmdr. Stacy “Stigs” Uttecht, Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer “Cujo” Hesling, Lt. Christy “Buzz” Talisse, Lt. Cmdr. Danielle “Purple” Thiriot, Lt. Amanda “Stalin” Lee, Lt. Emily “Gong” Rixey, Lt. Kelly “Ston’er” Harris, and Cmdr. Leslie “Meat” Mintz.

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The aviators performed the Missing Man Flyover, a traditional flyover salute for funerals and memorial services. Two pairs of aircraft flew in a V formation. One of the aircraft detached from the formation and flew upwards, while the others flew on until all four were out of sight.

Along with so many other Americans, we salute Mariner — and the women who flew in her honor, too. 

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