The U.S. Navy’s first Black female tactical air (TACAIR) pilot received her Wings of Gold July 31, marking a significant milestone for Naval Aviation.
Virginia native Lt. j.g. Madeline G. Swegle was designated a naval aviator and received her Wings of Gold with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas.
Swegle is assigned to the “Redhawks” of Training Squadron (VT) 21 under Training Air Wing 2 at NAS Kingsville and completed her final undergraduate TACAIR training flight in a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft July 7. VT-21 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Matthew Maher presented Wings of Gold to each of his graduates during the ceremony.
Amidst the Navy’s response to the global pandemic, instructors and students adjusted to COVID-19 spread mitigation measures including sterilizing surfaces, wearing masks, and social distancing when practical. Despite these challenges, this is the largest graduating class of strike aviators in almost a decade.
Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff oversees all undergraduate flight training from the command headquarters at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
“We are all incredibly proud of Lt. j.g Swegle and the entire class,” Westendorff said. “This is a wonderful personal achievement but also a testament to their dedication and drive to succeed in the tactical air training pipeline. I wish them all every success at the next level learning to fly our fleet aircraft.” [
A 2017 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Swegle reported to Naval Aviation Schools Command at NAS Pensacola, Florida, where she completed Initial Flight Screening and Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. She completed Primary flight training with the “Boomers” of VT-27 at NAS Corpus Christi, and after selecting the TACAIR, or Strike, pipeline, Swegle progressed to Intermediate and Advanced training with VT-21.
Swegle is part of a new generation of TACAIR pilots to qualify on state-of-the art Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) unique to aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78): the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG). She completed carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, May 20.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Swegle said. “It would’ve been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it’s encouraging to other people.”
Chief of Legislative Affairs Rear Adm. Sara Joyner, a career naval aviator, served as guest speaker for the ceremony via teleconference.
“I’m incredibly proud of Lt. j.g. Swegle and her classmates and am excited to welcome them all to the fleet,” Joyner said. “There’s more work to do to make sure that we recruit, train and retain a diverse force that represents the best and brightest of this nation. Everything in Naval Aviation requires teamwork, and you will be judged by your professionalism, demonstrated capability, and leadership.”
Swegle and her classmates will advance to graduate-level flight training at their respective fleet replacement squadrons. Specific platform selection for the TACAIR training pipeline (F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, or F-35C Lightning II) typically occurs shortly before the winging ceremony. Swegle will report to the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington to begin training as an EA-18G Growler pilot. VAQ-129 trains new naval aviators, naval flight officers, and naval aircrewmen in electronic warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures in preparation for their fleet assignments.
Swegle follows in the footsteps of Brenda E. Robinson, the Navy’s first African American female naval aviator. Robinson earned her Wings of Gold June 6, 1980 and was the 42nd woman to be designated a naval aviator.
“Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer,” Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III said. “She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air. The diversity of that group—with differences in background, skill and thought—makes us a stronger fighting force.”
Chief of Naval Air Training trains the world’s finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.
(U.S. Navy video by Austin Rooney/released)
Disneyland Resort Continues its Legendary Comeback with the Return of Expanded ‘Celebrate Gospel!’
– ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ will light up Disneyland Park this spring for the parade’s 50th anniversary
– Fan-favorites ‘Fantasmic!’, ‘World of Color’ and ‘Disneyland Forever’ fireworks spectacular return this spring
– Lunar New Year event begins Jan. 21, 2022
– ‘Celebrate Gospel!’ expands in February with live choir performances
– More reasons to visit: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival and the return of ‘Tale of the Lion King’
The Disneyland Resort is celebrating 2022 with the thrills, magic, fun and adventure that have made the “Happiest Place on Earth” one of the most popular family vacation destinations on the planet. In spring 2022, the imaginative “Main Street Electrical Parade” will light up Disneyland Park for the iconic parade’s 50th anniversary year, and guests will be treated to the return of three nighttime spectaculars: “Fantasmic!”, “World of Color” and the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular.
Throughout 2022, the Disneyland Resort will be the place for friends and families to make memories together, for little ones to see a favorite Disney character, for foodies to savor a splendid meal or Disney treats, and for seasoned park-goers to begin their next adventures. The choices range from exciting attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to captivating entertainment, limited-time festivals and seasonal celebrations for Halloween in the Fall and for Holidays beginning in November.
At Disney California Adventure Park, Avengers Campus continues to be a popular destination. Guests are coming to the aid of Peter Parker on WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure and becoming warrior allies with the Dora Milaje, while heroic encounters have included Loki, Black Panther, Black Widow, Ant Man and The Wasp. Festivals return to this park in spring of 2022 with Lunar New Year celebration and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
In addition, guests will find plenty of Disney magic at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort, along with new shops and popular dining locations at the Downtown Disney District.
Disneyland Resort Nighttime Spectaculars are returning in Spring 2022!
Guests at the Disneyland Resort will be thrilled to once again enjoy some favorite nighttime spectaculars, beginning this spring.
- “Main Street Electrical Parade”: When Disney’s classic electrical parade makes its grand return to Disneyland Park, this spectacular pageant of nighttime magic and imagination will be led by the iconic train and drum unit featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy, proclaiming in lights: “Disneyland Presents – Main Street Electrical Parade.” The parade brings back many guest favorites including Elliot the Dragon and floats from “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella” and “Peter Pan.”
- “Fantasmic!” has been a “must-see” show at Disneyland for nearly 30 years. Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular is an emotional extravaganza of colorful Disney animated film images, choreographed to an exciting musical score and highlighted by the fire-breathing Maleficent Dragon. The waters of the Rivers of America come alive as Mickey Mouse’s power of imagination enables him to create fantastic events and images as seen in classic Disney films like “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid” and more.
- “World of Color” is a unique combination of music, fire, fog and laser effects, with Disney animation projected on an immense screen of water. This unforgettable kaleidoscope of color at Disney California Adventure celebrates the magic and fun of Disney and Pixar – all set to a soaring soundtrack. Audiences are immersed in some favorite Disney stories with memorable sequences of animation and music, including scenes like WALL-E and Eve zipping through the cosmos and Pocahontas exploring just around the riverbend.
- “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular: “Disneyland Forever” is a sky-high celebration filled with sparkling pyrotechnics and immersive projections that envelop guests in a breathtaking journey with surprising special effects. Main Street, U.S.A., and a few other spots in Disneyland become a magical canvas as guests are swept into a world of dreams, from flying above the London skyline with “Peter Pan” to a dance with King Louie in “The Jungle Book.” The inspiring closing song is “Kiss Goodnight.”
Exciting entertainment at Disneyland Park
“Celebrate Gospel!”: Disneyland Resort will celebrate the soulful spirit of Gospel music with the return of “Celebrate Gospel!” For 2022, “Celebrate Gospel!” will expand and feature live choir performances, each sharing its own distinctive style and inspiration. This powerful event moves to the Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland Park where guests will be able to enjoy uplifting choir performances on select days during the month of February. “Celebrate Gospel!” is offered as part of the Disneyland Park experience. More details will be shared soon on the Disney Parks Blog.
“Tale of the Lion King”: The Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland soon will become home to “Tale of the Lion King,” an imaginative adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King.” A hit with guests when it debuted in 2019, “Tale of the Lion King” is brought to life by the Storytellers of the Pride Lands, a troupe of traveling performers who present Simba’s beloved and timeless journey in a unique story-theater style with live music and dance.
Festivals and more at Disney California Adventure
Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure is a joyous celebration that commemorates traditions of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures. The festival is filled with multicultural performances, kid-friendly crafts, culinary delights, beautiful décor, celebratory merchandise and live musical entertainment, from Jan. 21 through Feb. 13, 2022.
It’s the Year of the Tiger in 2022 and Tigger will join in on the fun, along with beloved Disney characters including Mulan and Mushu, Mickey and Minnie, and the Three Little Pigs – all donning their festive attire. Cherished Lunar New Year traditions include the Lucky Wishes Wall and “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession,” a performance that honors family, friendship, and the potential for a fortune-filled new year.
Adding to the excitement, Raya from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film “Raya and the Last Dragon” will make her first appearance at Disneyland Resort during the celebration. Guests are invited to welcome Raya and catch a glimpse of the glistening dragon gem among the blooming Kumandran flowers, nestled deep in the heart of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
The Sip and Savor Pass* will be available for select food and non-alcoholic beverages at participating Lunar New Year marketplaces, all featuring delicious Asian cuisine.
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns in 2022 with its unique “tour” of California regions and neighborhoods, from March 4-April 26, 2022. This festival is a showcase for delicious fare, vibrant entertainment, festival merchandise and even time with Chef Goofy.
A dozen festival marketplaces will offer mouthwatering bites and beverages for every palate. Complimentary culinary demonstrations with visiting, local, celebrity and Disney chefs will return for park guests to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays during the festival. To further enhance the festival experience, guests may book and purchase signature events such as the Carthay Circle Winemaker Receptions, and the Wine, Beer and Mixology Education & Tasting Seminars.
Guests may purchase a Sip and Savor Pass* for the festival’s marketplace offerings.
Additional details about the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will be shared soon on Disneyland.com.
Cars Land turns 10: The year 2022 is a time to celebrate unforgettable milestones at the Disneyland Resort, including the 10th anniversary of a major expansion at Disney California Adventure. On June 15, 2012, the first guests strolled along the new Buena Vista Street, with shops, architecture and theming reminiscent of Los Angeles in the late 1920s/early 1930s. Guests also discovered Cars Land, where “car” residents like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater cruise along Route 66 in Radiator Springs. The grand new attraction in the land, Radiator Springs Racers, has become as popular as the blockbuster “Cars” films from Disney and Pixar.
Disneyland After Dark limited-time events
Disneyland After Dark** events return with more “Nites” of after-hours fun on select nights in 2022. Sweethearts’ Nite will be presented on five evenings in February at Disneyland, Villains Nite on two evenings in March at Disney California Adventure, and Star Wars Nite on three evenings in May at Disneyland, including the eve of May the 4th. That’s more nights than ever before for these limited-time events that have unique themes, character experiences, special nighttime entertainment and more. Tickets are limited and will be available at Disneyland.com/DisneylandAfterDark, with sales for Sweethearts’ Nite beginning Dec. 9, 2021, and sales for Villains Nite and Star Wars Nite beginning Jan. 11, 2022.
New shops and new plans for Downtown Disney District
Downtown Disney District continues its evolution as a premiere venue for innovative shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.
Specialty retailers Pelé Soccer and Lovepop will soon be opening shops in Downtown Disney District. Pelé Socceris a stadium-themed store offering soccer gear from renowned global sports brands and national team jerseys from around the world at a shop named after Pelé, the legendary Brazilian superstar.Lovepop offers eye-catching, 3D pop-up cards and gifts that take paper art to new heights. Created by two ship designers, Lovepop combines engineering and modern technology with the ancient art form of kirigami, a variation of origami that intricately cuts paper rather than folding.
Post 21 is a new Black-owned, woman-owned retailer offering curated modern and design-forward merchandise from Black-owned businesses, including products for family, home, gifting and more. Guests will find this specialty kiosk between the World of Disney and Starbucks.
Continuing the momentum that began in 2018, a multi-year project will begin in January 2022 with plans to transform the former AMC Theatres building and adjacent area into a stunning new lifestyle space. Drawing inspiration from Southern California mid-century modern architecture, the area will be a beautiful blend of vibrant color palettes, multi-cultural design elements and patterns, an open lawn for relaxation and future events, and an even broader collection of dining and shopping.
Reimagining work at Mickey’s Toontown begins in 2022
At Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park, Imagineers will be working next year to reimagine the land with some all-new experiences for families and young children that will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy spaces. Those are expected to open in 2023, along with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
About the Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, year-round.
Guests are encouraged to visit Disneyland.com/updates for important information to know before visiting the Disneyland Resort, including updates on required face coverings and having a reservation for each park ticket. To enter a theme park, guests (ages 3 and older) will need a valid ticket and a theme park reservation for the same day and same park they want to visit.
*A Sip & Savor pass will be valid only for the specific event where it was purchased. A pass will not be valid at any other event or at any other time, other than the event and dates specified on the pass. Passes are nonrefundable, nontransferable, may not be redeemed for cash, and are subject to other restrictions, and change or cancellation without notice. Passes are not valid for theme park admission. Valid park admission and park reservation for the same park on the same date are required for park entry.
**Certain attractions, experiences, and offerings will not be available during the events. Please check the event’s webpage for updated information. Available experiences, attractions, and offerings may be modified and limited in availability, and are subject to restrictions, and change or cancellation without notice. No refunds given for any changes or cancellations whether due to inclement weather or otherwise. The number of tickets available for each event are limited, and event tickets are valid only for the specific event date and hours. Parking fees are not included in the ticket price. Tickets must be purchased online and are not available on the day of the event. Limit eight (8) tickets per person, per event date, and no discounts apply. Tickets not required for guests ages 2 and under. Tickets are non-transferable, non-refundable and may not be resold or transferred for commercial use. Costumes are subject to Disney guidelines and should not be obstructive or offensive; please check special event costume guidelines at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/faq/parks/dress/ for restrictions. Offer, event and event elements are subject to restrictions, change or cancellation without notice.
McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour
The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour Makes It a December to Remember with an Inspirational Show Featuring Award-Winning Gospel Artists to Ring in the Holiday Season
On Sunday, December 12 at 8 p.m. ET, McDonald’s USA will deliver the gift of music to McDonald’s fans through its Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Holiday Experience. In partnership with BET, award-winning and emerging gospel artists including Yolanda Adams, Kurt Carr, James Fortune, The Walls Group, and Brian Courtney Wilson, and BET’s Sunday Best winner Stephanie Summers, will grace the virtual stage to ring in the season with some of their chart-topping hits and holiday carols and gospel music many love.
Show performers will come together to premiere “Christmas Spirit,” a feel-good song written and produced by chart-topping gospel artist, Sir the Baptist. Written exclusively for this Holiday Experience, the tune merges traditional gospel music with contemporary hip-hop sounds.
This special holiday concert continues the long-standing Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour tradition of supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) and its mission to improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Because ’tis the season, virtual concert-goers can donate to RHMC live at RMHC.org/ICGT2021. Since 2012, the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour has raised more than $1M to help families with ill or injured children stay close when they need it most.
“The holidays are such a special time. But as much as it’s a time for celebration, it’s a time to reflect and give back to others around us,” said Yolanda Adams, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. “I am proud to join this talented group of artists to usher in the holiday spirit for gospel fans nationwide while supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities families.”
Fans can stream the show on BET’s YouTube Channel. Ahead of the show, they can also experience a virtual red carpet hosted by social media comedian @NotKarltonBanks who will perform lively skits, host spirited interviews with tour artists, and give viewers a peek behind the scenes of the holiday show. Multi-award-winning musician and syndicated radio personality Lonnie Hunter will host the show.
“We are thrilled to bring back our holiday show as a celebration of this joyous season and what it means to the communities we serve,” said Harry Smith, Indiana McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Chair of the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour. “While McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators are committed to helping communities throughout the year, we are especially honored to help RMHC families through this special show that is a treat for all who love gospel music and holiday cheer.”
The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Holiday Experience is the fifth and final stop of the annual tour that is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Launched in September during Gospel Music Heritage Month, this longstanding event feeds and fosters community through the deeply rooted tradition of gospel music. The 2021 virtual tour and concert series featured talented gospel performers representing the Gulf Coast, West Coast, Carolinas, the DMV, and Houston.
Visit www.blackandpositivelygolden.com for streaming information and additional holiday show details, and follow @WeAreGolden on Instagram for future tour updates.
About McDonald’s USA Community Efforts
The McDonald’s 15th Annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is just one of many company initiatives created to connect with the communities McDonald’s serves. These efforts include webinars such as Classroom Convos, which focus on topics currently impacting Asian and Pacific Islander American students; the HACER® Education Tour, which provides information to navigate the college application process; the Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program, which pairs industry leaders with up-and-coming changemakers in the same fields; support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s diplomas2Degrees program which familiarizes teens with post-secondary education opportunities; and the Archways to Opportunity program for restaurant crew which provides educational resources to eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants. Together, with its Owner/Operators, McDonald’s is feeding and fostering the communities it serves.
About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Instagram at @WeAreGolden and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds. To learn more about the Black & Positively Golden initiative, visit www.mcdonalds.com.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation that creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. Through its global network of nearly 260 Chapters in more than 62 countries and regions, and its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, RMHC helps families with sick children stay together, and close to the medical care their child needs at leading hospitals worldwide. RMHC programs not only provide access to quality health care, they enable family- centered care ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their children’s care. For more information, visit rmhc.org. Follow RMHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Scott Mills New CEO at BET
Scott M. Mills has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of BET, the nation’s leading provider of quality content from Black creators. The announcement was made today by President and CEO of ViacomCBS, Bob Bakish, and Chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks, David Nevins.
During his four-year tenure as BET President, Mills sparked invaluable change that structured and positioned the legacy brand for future success in a rapidly evolving media landscape. Since his appointment in 2018, Mills expanded the BET brand well beyond the framework of a traditional cable network, into the multi-platform media powerhouse that it is today with the launches of BET+, a premium subscription streaming service; BET Studios, an innovative studio venture providing equity ownership to Black content creators; BET’s wide-reaching digital platforms and footprint; and much more. Bringing A-list content creators into the fold, Mills set new precedents for BET, and, by extension, ViacomCBS, making the global media brand the largest commissioner of Black premium content through partnerships with Tyler Perry, Lena Waithe, Kenya Barris, Lee Daniels, and many others.
“Under Scott’s leadership, BET has reached new heights with continued commercial success and profound cultural impact during a period of immense industry and social change,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS.
“Scott has been instrumental in the expansion of the BET brand as the premier destination for Black entertainment and top talent, and he has spearheaded transformative initiatives that not only give back to the community but also play a critical role in representation in front of and behind the camera. BET is a source of inspiration and pride across the company, and I’m excited for BET’s strong future ahead with Scott at the helm.”
Under Mills’ executive leadership, BET will continue to build upon its 40-year legacy of entertaining Black audiences and its commitment to entertain, engage, and empower the Black community. Philanthropy has always been central to BET’s mission, however Mills’ dedicated social impact strategies have inspired company- and industry-wide change. One such example is Content for Change, a multi-pronged initiative that leverages data to effect societal change and combat bias, that was recently adopted across the entire ViacomCBS organization. Whether investing in Black communities, discovering, and fostering Black creatives and talent, or rallying Black leaders across business, media, and entertainment to raise nearly $20M in COVID-19 relief to support Black communities hit the hardest by the virus, BET remains the industry leader in Black premium content and steadfast in its duty to the Black community.
“BET is uniquely positioned to thrive at the intersection of content, community, and culture,” said Mills. “Through the power of the BET brand, our incredible team and great partners, we’ve established leading business franchises across linear, streaming, digital, and most recently, content development and distribution. It is an extraordinary privilege to steward such a culturally significant brand with an enormous legacy as a catalyst for change. As CEO, I look forward to working with my immensely talented BET colleagues and our great partners to ensure that BET continues to thrive and remains ideally positioned to succeed in the ever-changing media landscape.”
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