Rosemary Mariner
1953 - 2019
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Capt. Rosemary Mariner, U.S. Navy, retired, died Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in the fifth year of her battle with ovarian cancer, with her husband and wingman of 40 years by her side.  She was 65. 
Born in Harlingen, Texas, raised in San Diego, she graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautics at 19. Capt. Mariner was one of the first eight women selected to fly military aircraft in 1973. After flight training in 1974, she became the Navy's first female jet pilot flying the A-4C and the A-7E Corsair II.  She moved to the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, then Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 5. For sea duty, in 1982 she reported aboard USS Lexington, where she qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer.
In 1990, she became the first woman to command a military aviation squadron, VAQ-34, based at the Pacific Missile Test Center at Pt. Mugu, Calif.  She attended the National War College in Washington, D.C., earning a Masters in National Security Strategy and served on the Staff of the Joint Chiefs in the Pentagon. Her final military assignment was as the Chairman of the Joint Chief's Chair in Military Strategy at the National War College, before retiring in 1997.  Throughout her career, Capt. Mariner was both willing to serve as a mentor to others and deeply grateful to the men and women who enabled her to pursue her dreams. She was instrumental in the repeal of restrictions on women serving in combat.
In retirement, Capt. Mariner was a resident scholar at the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee in the History Department where she taught classes in military history, emphasizing the intersections of war and conscience. She continued to serve as an advisor on national defense policy and women's integration into the military for ABC News, PBS and the Department of the Navy.  A voracious reader and an eager academic, she devoted herself to a love of knowledge. In recent years, this included the disease which took her life, which she sought to understand as fully as possible. As expected, she tenaciously fought an implacable foe to the end. She lived in Norris, with her husband, retired Navy Commander Tommy Mariner, and their daughter, Emmalee, who attends Duke University. 
The family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Norris United Methodist Church, with a funeral to follow at 11 a.m. Funeral mass will be at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, with full military graveside service to follow at New Loyston Cemetery. Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton is in charge of all arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family will accept donations to Sacred Ground Residential Hospice.

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Published in Roane County News from Jan. 29 to Jan. 30, 2019.
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Memories & Condolences
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104 entries
April 9, 2020
Until today, I did not know of her. She was born about the same time period as myself. What an inspiration she is to us all. She is in Heaven, flying and inspiring others. It is good to know of her.
Edward Johnson
Acquaintance
March 18, 2019
From a grateful Nation our Condolences and heartfelt Thanks to a Hero and Mentor to generations.
Tye Seeley
February 17, 2019
Heart felt condolences to family and friends. At Purdue, we knew Rosemary as Rosie Merims. It was a short walk from the Harrison Hall dorm to the Purdue airport. Rosemary would invite friends to fly with her whenever she was logging flight hours. Her personality was engaging, but she was not one to seek the spotlight. She simply pursued her love of flying and did not see any reason for road blocks. Youngest female to get a pilot license in California and first female to graduate from Purdue's Aviation Technology program. Then an exceptional career as the Navy's first female aviator. Of all the great pilots from Purdue, it seems that Amelia Earhart and Captain Rosemary Mariner would be at the top of the list of female pilots. Rosemary's impact was immediate early in her Naval career and she continued to influence several generations throughout her career. Her drive for excellence and tenacity to open opportunities for women is a testament to the American spirit.
Kent Novatny
February 8, 2019
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Camella Ford
February 7, 2019
Deep condolences from the extended Reyner-Perry-Gardner family. She was an amazing woman and inspiration to all of us.
Glenn Gardner
February 6, 2019
My deepest condolences for your loss. May the God of all comfort prove to be your strength during this difficult time.
Psalm 18:2
Christian
February 6, 2019
May the wonderful memories the family and friends share bring comfort during this time of loss. Proverbs 17:17

Chianti
February 6, 2019
Un pilote ne meurt jamais, il s'envole juste et ne revient pas. A. de Saint-Exupéry
Gogniat René
February 5, 2019
Sorry for loss And may she rest in peace
February 5, 2019
thank you for being my north star as I followed your strong example for all Naval officers. please be our guardian angel as we continue the work you did above and beyond the call of duty. I am eternally grateful to have legends like you to keep me fighting for the best possible treatment of all who choose a military vocation.
rosebud gray
Served In The Military Together
February 5, 2019
My thoughts and prayers are with friends and family of Rosemary.
February 5, 2019
Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss, May the God of all comfort strengthen the family during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on, God keeps in His memory beause they are precious in His eyes.
Psalms 116:15
Jolene
February 4, 2019
Valenda Newell
February 4, 2019
Celebrating a life well lived. We will cherish the memories forever.
February 4, 2019
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Alishia
February 4, 2019
Safe journey on your going home. You did well so R.I.P.
Larry Thomas
February 4, 2019
To The Family Of Rosemary Mariner
My condolences to the family during this difficult time. It my hope that you find comfort in knowing that Almighty God is near to those crushed in spirit and that he cares about you.
February 4, 2019
It is too bad you weren't a pilot with the Navy's Blue Angels, but today you fly with the angels of heaven. You paved the way for all women serving today in the U.S. military, which has ensured our freedom never dies or is threatened ever again. Rest in Peace Rosemary, you were truly a blessing for this country and the world also.
Amy Marie Hortmann
February 4, 2019
Sorry for your loss May God of all tender mercy comfort you in your times of sadness.
February 3, 2019
Heartfelt condolences to the family. May God strengthen and comfort you in your time of distress. Ms. Mariner will be missed dearly. Thoughts and prayers.
February 3, 2019
You flew like an Angel to watch over our nation. Now you are an Angel to watch over your family.
I didn't know Rosemary but I too am 65 and we served in different services at same time I was US Air Force - her US Navy. She was a real champion for women. Those days were very hard on us & I can't imagine what she put up with her entire career.
What a hard life after her fantastic career suffering thru while trying to live. I know you have joined your loved ones now & I know without a doubt, your husband & family will see you again.
Fly High
Kathi Sutton
Military
February 3, 2019
Don MacLagan
February 3, 2019
Joan
February 2, 2019
My Condolence for the Mariner family. Captain Mariner we Thank You for your service, knowledge, and leadership. Rosemary is soaring ever higher Godspeed on your journey as you "slip the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God". Surely he will be there to greet you ..... !!!!!
Charlie Gregory
February 2, 2019
CMDR Mariner,
You are an inspiration, a leader, a challenger to all the knowledge we knew afore. Your service with Honor, Integrity, Sacrifice and Valor is a bright and shining example of leadership forward. Ma'am, we didn't serve directly together, but we served during the same time. I would have been honored to have called you "The Old Man" or "Chief" or "First Shirt". Nicknames for those in leadership positions, and not PC, but uttered with deep respect and homage to the position and the person. May God grant you peace in the heavens, and your Family peace and comfort in their hearts. Ma'am, You Now Have the Watch, and we await the opportunity to serve with you again. We will know as we were known. Fair skies and following winds, Rest. Salute.
February 2, 2019
May your family carry on your bravery and fond memories.
Justine
February 2, 2019
R.I.P Thank you for opening those hard doors for women. You are and always will be a great example for all women.
Veronica Villarreal
February 2, 2019
Never to be forgotten. One of the countrys greatest. Raising up women where they have always belonged.
Hector Romero
Friend
February 2, 2019
Thank you for your hard fought service to your country, VIPER. You are the epitome of how women are willing and capable of the same level of service and the same bravery as any fellow (male) service person. You blazed the trail for all the others who have come behind you, and you excelled at being that trail blazer. Prayers to your family during this devastating loss.
Rest now....
Ginger Nuttall
Acquaintance
February 2, 2019
She was a pioneer and a remarkable individual. She will be missed by the academic community and by all who knew her. She was involved in the University of Tennessee Aerospace Education Workshop for Teachers and she was an inspiration to all young woman who wanted to break the barriers and do what they enjoyed and loved. May God bless Tommy and her family.
Lt. Col. Gary E. Lynn
Director of Aerospace Education
Tennessee Wing Civil Air Patrol
February 2, 2019
God Speed. Fair winds and following seas. Rest In Peace
Brian McIntosh
February 2, 2019
Condolences and prayers for the family. Its an honor to say that she did my re-enlistment ceremony at VAQ-34!
Victoria Long
Military
February 2, 2019
Rest in Peace, thank you for all you did as a woman in the United States Navy. I also served in the U.S Navy from 1986-1993.
Judith Laboy
February 2, 2019
May the family and friends continue to be comforted by their treasured memories of Rosemary, and by the comfort that God gives, during this difficult time. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

Emilie Howard
February 2, 2019
My sincere condolences to the family. May the God of comfort grant you strength during this difficult time.
February 2, 2019
God Bless your memory Capt. I was one of the plane captains or final checker in your training. VT 21 NAS Kingsville Texas. I do remember launch/recovery with you. I also am a cancer survivor. Fair winds and following seas shipmate.
Steve O'Grady
Served In The Military Together
February 2, 2019
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
February 1, 2019
A sister in Arms Rest In Peace the disease took you from us but we will never forget you
Steve Boguszewski
February 1, 2019
Worked at VX-5, China Lake, CA with lcdr Mariner. I remember when she did a photo shoot, with "Glamour" magazine.
Thank-you, for being a "trailblazer".
Christine Johnson
February 1, 2019
Many prayers and thanks for both of your service to our country. Condolences to your family.
Jim & Krista Maggard
February 1, 2019
Just read about Rosemary through a post on FB by the 99's - an organization that I am a part of. I learned to fly when I turned 44 years old. This led to my son enlisting in the USAF. He is now serving his country as a pilot of the F-15 C. I am so indebited to female pilots such as Rosemary. I care about her and I am so thankful for her service to our country. God will hold Rosemary safely in his arms. And Mary will carry her to Jesus. For this I pray. For this I am certain.
Marla Emerson
February 1, 2019
Very saddened to here of your loss. I went to high school with Rosemary, washed airplanes with her for flight time, started learning to fly together. Lost track of her when I went in the USAF. She was an inspiration to me through out the years as I followed her career.
Paul Shanks
February 1, 2019
I did not have the privilege of knowing Capt. Mariner, but I knew her father, Cecil, when I was 9 years old in Harlingen, Tx. He was a neighbor and a jovial man, always with a cigar and a ready smile. I was very saddened by his death. My respects to the family.
Steven Wynkoop
February 1, 2019
Would like to thank Rosemary for her service and her leadership and her dedication to life in the pursuit of freedom and justice.
Abby Oaks
February 1, 2019
God bless you and thank you for your dedicated service to our country may your family cherish the memories they have of your great life
KIRK DAVIS
February 1, 2019
My condolences to the family and friends during this difficult time.....
February 1, 2019
May peace and comfort be showered upon the Mariner family. Ms. Mariner has left a page in history and on the minds and hearts of many! May you cherish the many wonderful memories and know that God is always close to hear your prayers.

J Tyler
Chicago
February 1, 2019
As a Purdue classmate she will be missed. Rosemary was very well liked and respected by her fellow Boilermaker pilots. Rest in peace Rosemary.
Reinhardt Carlson
February 1, 2019
my thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Captain Mariner. she was a true pioneer and will be missed.
David Merriman
February 1, 2019
I admire you, I envy you, and I am SO proud you took that 1st step for all women to be pilots. Because of you and several other women pilots I was able to achieve mine. Thank you for your service and your commitment. You were and always will be a inspiration to so may young girls. Mission Complete. We will never forget. My prayers and thoughts to your family and loved ones.
Mary Williams
February 1, 2019
Fair winds and following seas sailor.
"Boatswain... Standby to pipe the side... Shipmate's going Ashore..."

Thank you for your service to this nation.
Harry Simpson
February 1, 2019
Fly high Captain. Thank you for your service and the roads you paved.
Vanessa Mata LS1 Ret.
February 1, 2019
Captain...FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS....RIP CAPTAIN
Judy Boothe
Friend
February 1, 2019
My very sincerest condolences for the loss of a great mother and spirited partner and loving wife, I am sorry.
I feel the void that must exist as I recently went through a loss to this same disease of my partner and wife who was near about the same age, youthfulness and perhaps stubbornness.
Somewhere in all the news clippings on pilot Mariner there was a quote noted where she felt she had access to a good equalizer in her work for the United States, sadly no such equalizer has been found to combat with in the battle with ovarian.
Again, accept my deepest sympathy for the loss and know that she is in my prayer.
Adam Chaczyk
February 1, 2019
My condolences to the family, immediate and extended. I owe my life to unknown Navy Aviators who arrived just seconds before the NVA found me and the group of other wounded around me. To you, as well as them, THANK YOU.
Enrique Pujals
February 1, 2019
You are an inspiration to all. Fly high, Captain. "Put out your hand and touch the face of God."

Bill McCrary, Maj, USAF, Ret
February 1, 2019
My deepest condolences. Captain Mariner was one of my heroes and inspirations. Thank you for your service, knowledge, and leadership. Godspeed your journey as you "slip the surly bonds of Earth to the touch the face of God". Surely he will be there to greet you.
Kimberly Snyder
February 1, 2019
God bless you and your loved ones ~ Thank you for your service.
Jane Dowling
February 1, 2019
FLY HIGH CAPTAIN AND THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE
Anna Smith
February 1, 2019
My sincere condolences for your loss.
February 1, 2019
The Final Salute

Brothers in Arms, Military men and women down through the centuries, have traditionally exchanged Hand Salutes as a sign of recognition and as a way to render courtesy and respect one to another.

This Hand Salute is the last that we shall render to our Sister in Arms, Rosemary Mariner. To her family it symbolizes the love and respect that we have for Rosemary. To Rosemary it is rendered as a symbol of honor and gratitude to thank her for her dedicated and loyal service she rendered to her country during Operation Desert Storm while serving as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. Rosemary not only did you serve with honor and distinction, but you paved the way for women to enter that very elite group of aviators called FIGHTER PILOT . You upheld the finest qualities of an American patriot warrior: courage, commitment, generosity, sacrifice, love and devotion to family and country. You are a true patriot. We bid you a sad farewell. You will be dearly missed from among our ranks. Be at ease. Rest in Peace.

On behalf of the 961 military veteran Legionnaires of Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 of the American Legion and the 193 veterans of VFW Post 2238 in Shreveport, Louisiana, we extend our sympathies and our condolences to Rosemarys family and loved ones.

Dennis Engdahl, Commander, American Legion Post 14
5315 South Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport, LA 71109

Ranny Grifffin, Commander, VFW Post 2238
1245 Gary Street, Shreveport, LA 71101

For the Commanders, Carroll R. Michaud
February 1, 2019
You are a wonderful inspiration for all woman. Fly high dearest Rosemary. You have a destination and a welcoming loving inspiration waiting for you. RIP
Florida
February 1, 2019
My condolences to the family. May you receive comfort during this difficult time. Matthew 5:4
February 1, 2019
I would like to express my deepest sympathies for the loss of your loved one, who will be remembered for her contribution to history and education. May you find comfort and help in God during this time of sorrow.
February 1, 2019
Ann Stokman
February 1, 2019
Vietnam Veteran USMC 1962-1968 1st Marine Air Wing 3rd Marine Air Wing you inspired so many women!!
Lyle Lindberg
February 1, 2019
You fought the good fight. May the angels lead you into Paradise.
Sheila
February 1, 2019
May God Bless you. Thanks for paving the way for other females. May you have a very special place in Heaven. RIP
January 31, 2019
Thank you for your service to our country. You will not be forgotten. You will be admired for generations.
Laraine Amendola
January 31, 2019
Thank you for all you have given the world. Mike Jackson:Orange Beach,ala.
January 31, 2019
Our deepest condolences for your family at this time.
CMDR & Mrs. Gregory Rose USN Ret.
January 31, 2019
so much respect for you.Thank you for all you have given to the world!! Mike Jackson:orange beach,alabama.
January 31, 2019
May God grant you wings to continue to fly high. Strength and comfort to your husband and family.
Taniesha Todd
January 31, 2019
Thank You for your service Rosemary .. Rest In Peace
To your family and friends I'm very sorry ...
Wife of a helicopter crew chief ...Vietnam Veteran
Marie Nelson
January 31, 2019
I was scanning my cell phone... Top News CNN, "The Navy's first all-female flyover will honor a woman who helped make it possible." I read it because I'm Navy Woman Veteran Retired...My heartfelt prayers to family and her friends. I too am very sadden by her death but I feel great Navy pride that our path crossed during my tour (Jul 1980- Oct 1983 on board USS LEXINGTON(AVT-16) Pensacola, FL. I was in the initial group of women to go aboard and I was the first Black Woman Female Petty Officer and first woman to earn ESW pin. May CAPT Mariner legacy live on and REST from your hard work of breaking down doors and leaving them blocked for others to follow your OUTSTANDING Leadership accomplished careers.

Daisy M. Morgan
YNCS(SW) USN(RET)
Temple Hills, MD
January 31, 2019
Yo again are flying with the eagles. RIP
Dawn Bieber
January 31, 2019
I met Rosemary at a social gathering during the Purdue sponsored Intercollegiate Flying Meet in 72, representing FIT Fla Tech. She was one very nice spirited young lady that had me fascinated with her aviation goals
and how it matched my aviation dreams. She succeeded well. Proud to have met her and for her service to our country. Thank You.
W Burdis
January 31, 2019
Our condolences for the loss of your wife, Cmdr. Mariner. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Gina Wasilewski
January 31, 2019
Fair winds and following seas.
Eric Burcher
January 31, 2019
Thank you for your service, RIP!
Holly McCord
January 31, 2019
Rest in Peace
Scott Chamberland
January 31, 2019
Rip
January 31, 2019
To Rosemary's family and friends, please take comfort in each other during this sad time. My deepest sympathies go out to you all.
January 31, 2019
I thank you and all like you for Your service and for protecting our COUNTRY,God Bless you and your Family you will be in my Prayers.
Lawrence VanOverbeke
January 31, 2019
AN Roberts and CDR Mariner<br />VAQ-34<br />DET Oceana circa 1990<br /> <br />
RIP Shipmate.
January 31, 2019
For all women who have served our country in whatever role, we honor her memory and mourn her loss.
Linda Hendrickson
January 31, 2019
I did not have the pleasure of knowing you but as a fellow sailior, thank you for paving the way for women in the military. My condolences to your family and friends and rest easy shipmate.
Jenna Khashijan
January 31, 2019
I am so sad to hear of Rosemary's passing. I knew her and Tommy at China Lake where I was the station helo pilot. Rosemary and Tommy were good and genuine people who I always enjoyed working and talking with. Tommy gave me a back seat ride in the TA-7 and I ran into them at a Point Mugu air show back in the early 2000's. Please accept my most sincere condolences, I will be attending her services in spirit.
Chip Lancaster
January 31, 2019
Godspeed. Rosemary!
Frank Titus
January 31, 2019
I salute you Capt. Rosemary Mariner. Your Military family and America will remember your remarkable life.
Isidro Garcia
Military
January 31, 2019
As I did not know you personally, but ! I'd like to Thank you, for your service. My deepest condolences to Family and Friends.
Jackie Robertson
January 30, 2019
I'm sorry Emmalee and family. My husband Neil and I enjoyed debating current events and learning history from your mom. When there was a St. Mary's meeting, we looked for her to sit with so we could have stimulating conversation. Not chit chat, immediate delving into the events of the day and asking her for historical parallels I'm very sorry she had to go, it isn't fair when good people suffer. Five years is a long time to fight cancer, she tried very hard to stay with you. Sincerely, Sonya Wilson, parent from your St Mary's class (Megan's mom).
Sonya Sharp
Acquaintance
January 30, 2019
Fair Winds and Following Seas shipmate
Scott Fitzpatrick
January 30, 2019
So sorry to hear of her passing, although I never served with her she was an inspiration to all who knew of her and her service to this country. My sincere condolences to her family, military colleagues and friends.
Pat Childers
January 30, 2019
Rosemary was a true pathfinder and served our country exceptionally well, in every way. My deepest condolences to her husband, Tom, and daughter, Emmalee. May the Lord provide the strength you need while time heals the loss you have experienced.
Purdue '73 classmate
January 30, 2019
Thank you for an inspirational and impactful life.
H. Jackson
January 30, 2019
Captain Mariner was a true pioneer and outstanding role model for those of us who joined the Navy in the 1970's and 1980's. She helped pave the way for expanding the jobs women could perform in the Navy and showed to one and all that all they need was the opportunity to excel. Godspeed, Captain.
Lois Gruendl
January 30, 2019
Captain Mariner was a real trailblazer for those of us who joined the Navy in the 1970's. Her name and accomplishments were legend and a true testament to the fact that it was time to expand women's roles in the Navy. Thank you for leading the way. Godspeed, Captain.
January 30, 2019
Rosemary arrived at the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for an abbreviated syllabus in the A-7E, a single engine, single seat Light Attack jet. At the time, it was state of the art, with a heads-up display, inertial navigation and multi-mode radar. The ready room was obviously all male, and there was a fair amount of grumbling about her even being there. I was the schedules officer and the CO made it clear that this was not to become an issue, so I put myself on to fly with her on her first (and THE first ever female) flight in our two seat trainer, the TA-7C. Walking out to the flight line, it was clear that she was uncomfortable, but also that she was equally determined. Suffice it to say that she flew the A-7 like she had thousands of hours in it. It was easy to get behind this complicated jet, and even seasoned commanders coming back for refresher training often did so. Not Rosemary. She flew with great confidence and was smooth, but aggressive in all the maneuvers, including aerobatics. Back in the landing pattern, she looked ready to Hit The Boat, keeping the big jet on speed and with the Ball in the center. I was impressed and told her so along with all my fellow instructors. As my mediocre career played out, I watched from the sidelines as she prospered and distinguished herself. I was delighted when she married my old squadron buddy Tom. Now, I am so sad that she has left at such a young age, but take some comfort in believing that she is flying once again.
David Hastings
January 30, 2019
I met Rosemary when both of us were working towards full integration of women in the navy in the early 1990s. Well spoken she was able to quell anti women arguments with logic and reason that no one could dispute. a class act. God speed Rosemary.
Darlene Iskra
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