Vale, CPT Mariner

Rosemary Mariner in the 1990s when she was commanding officer of red-star-insignia’d ‘Flashbacks” of VAQ-34, the last Skywarrior and EA-7L electronic aggressor squadron in the Navy.  

Texas-born Rosemary Bryant Mariner (nee Conaster) grew up in San Diego fascinated with aviation, graduating from Purdue in 1972– at age 19– with a degree in Aviation Technology, picking up both flight engineer and pilot ratings before she signed on with the Navy the next year when she became one of the first eight women to enter Naval Aviation training at NAS Pensacola.

She went on to be being assigned to fly the rather pedestrian S-2 Tracker with the “Blue Tails” of VC-2 before she checked out on both the A-4C Skyhawk and A-7E Corsair, going on to become the first woman to fly a front-line tactical aircraft in U.S. service when she joined the fleet in 1975 and later contributed to studies on the ability of female pilots to withstand G-tolerances.

When placed in command of the “Flashbacks” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34 (VAQ-34)– an EW squadron flying the classic ERA-3B Whale and the rarely-encountered EA-7L Corsair in 1990– she was the first American female military aviator (in any branch) to lead an operational air squadron, which she did in Desert Shield/Storm. In all, she racked up 24 years of service with over 3,500 hours in 15 different aircraft types.

After she retired she was a scholar in residence and lecturer at UT for over a decade.

She recently passed away at age 65, in the fifth year of her battle with ovarian cancer.

Update: To honor Mariner, the U.S. Navy will conduct the first ever all-female flyover this Saturday, Feb. 2 in Maynardville, TN

All of the aviators participating in the flyover are from squadrons based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and will be flying F/A-18E/F “Super Hornets.”

The participants are:

Stacy Uttecht, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron Thirty-Two (VFA-32)
Leslie Mintz, Executive Officer, VFA-213
Cmdr. Paige Bloc, VFA-32
Cmdr. Danielle Thiriot, VFA-106
Cmdr. Jennifer Hesling, NAS Oceana
Christy Talisse, VFA-211
Amanda Lee, VFA-81
Emily Rixey, Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

4 responses to “Vale, CPT Mariner”

  1. Michael L. Flower says :

    Did she inspire the character “Rita Moravia” in the Tom Clancy book “The Minotaur” in 2002…

  2. a gray says :

    Vale, indeed.

  3. GP Cox says :

    She was quite a woman! The world lost one of the good ones when she passed.

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