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Naval flight officer from Springfield among the all-women crew to participate in Super Bowl flyover

The all-women crew will perform the flyover for the first time in honor of 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — After months of planning and multiple training sessions, an all-women crew is ready to fly over the State Farm Stadium in Arizona on Super Bowl Sunday in honor of 50 years of women in naval aviation. 

Among them is a woman from Springfield, Virginia who said she was ecstatic to get the call that she would be joining the crew. 

Lt. Naomi Ngalle said, "I was sitting in my house when I got the call. I had read a few articles about how we were celebrating 50 years with women in naval aviation and I was looking at that thinking, 'Man, that's really cool.' That's when I got a phone call pretty late on a Saturday night. They asked if I could fill in and execute the flyover after some people got sick."

Initially confused, Ngalle responded in disbelief and then clarified what was just asked of her.

Finally, she responded, "Yes! Absolutely. Are you kidding me?"

Later adding, "I get to be part of this historical moment in naval aviation. I've had so many women that I've looked up too. It's like I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. So, to be a part of that, and to potentially inspire the next generation of female aviators. There is truly no greater honor."

Ngalle is coming up on close to seven years of active duty service since being commissioned. She also spent four years previously at the Naval Academy. 

"I've always thought of myself as a patriot and I wanted the opportunity to appreciate the cost of freedom. I thought by maybe serving in some capacity, it would give me a better understanding of what those people do when putting their lives on the line," said Ngalle on why she felt compelled to join the Navy. "Really, I just wanted to contribute to the nation in some way."

Before applying to the Naval Academy, Ngalle went to college at the Stevens Institute of Technology for a few years, where she played lacrosse. 

She said it wasn't until she was accepted into the Naval Academy that she began reaching out to some of the women that were there including professors and company officers. Ngalle claims to have noticed immediately that "there are a lot of things that women think about and take into their decision-making matrix that maybe the average man would not."

When asked about what it was like being a woman in the military, Ngalle said it was a double-edged sword.

"I feel like being a woman in the military is kind of like a double-edged sword. Being a woman, you of stand out because you are automatically a minority. Then on top of that, I'm African-American and Hispanic, so it's easy to get your mind wrapped around the fact that you are different."

Adding, "But once you can take the time to understand that representation is important. That you belong here and in this space. I think once you see past that for yourself, the other people around you don't typically view you as any different. You just have to put in the work and show up."

In the 1970s, women were allowed, for the first time since WWII, to fly in the United States Armed Forces. Beginning with the Navy and Army in 1974, followed by the Air Force in 1976. 

Authorities say it wasn't until 1993 that the military allowed women to fly combat missions. 

Today, women make up around 12% of Navy pilots. 

Sunday's big game will be the first time ever that an all-female crew will pilot the planes for this flyover. 

A full dress rehearsal will be held Friday to make sure the crew is ready to go for Sunday's game.


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