2024 Miss America crown goes to active-duty U.S. Air Force officer

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On Sunday night, Second Lt. Madison Marsh, an officer in the U.S. Air Force, made history by becoming the first active-duty service member to be crowned Miss America, as confirmed by the Air Force.

Representing Colorado, the state that houses the U.S. Air Force Academy, Marsh earned her degree in physics from the academy last year, as detailed in her Miss Colorado biography.

A few weeks before the pageant in December, Marsh shared her intention to make her participation a positive representation for the Air Force.

Speaking to fellow airmen before a flight from a Nevada Air Force base, she aimed to contribute positively to the image of the Air Force.

Marsh’s journey into pageantry began during her time at the academy.

Expressing her love for the community service aspect and the emphasis on public speaking in pageants, she cited her cousin’s influence in her decision.

Since 2018, Marsh has been actively involved in raising awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research through the Whitney Marsh Foundation, founded in collaboration with her father and sister in honor of her mother, who succumbed to the disease.

The foundation has successfully raised over a quarter-million dollars, organizing events such as 5K and 10K runs in Marsh’s hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

In addition to her Miss America duties, which often include appearances at notable events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Marsh will be making appearances in Massachusetts, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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