This year’s Miss America is an active-duty Air Force officer

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An Air Force second lieutenant is trading in her helmet for a crown, emerging victorious as Miss America 2024.

Madison Marsh, representing Colorado, made history as the first active-duty Air Force officer to clinch the prestigious pageant title, as reported on the Miss Colorado website.

The Air Force celebrated Marsh’s achievement with a congratulatory tweet, recognizing her as their “very own Airman” on the path to Miss America glory.

Marsh’s Miss Colorado biography defies the conventional pageant narrative, citing her enjoyment of flying planes, cooking pasta, and reading in her free time.

Competing against fifty-one contestants from each state and Washington, D.C., Marsh embraced the title of Miss America as a “365-day opportunity” centered on community service.

She articulated her dual role, stating, “When I put on my uniform, I serve, and I represent our country.

When I put on the crown and sash, I’m serving, representing my community,” in an interview with the Harvard Crimson student newspaper before the finale in Orlando.

A representative of the Air Force Academy, Marsh aimed to shatter stereotypes about women in both pageants and the military.

Beyond the stage, she aspires to convey a message to young girls that they don’t have to conform to conventional roles.

Throughout the competition, the Air Force Academy showcased Marsh’s journey, emphasizing her transition “from the flight line to the spotlight” with an Instagram photo of her in uniform next to a plane.

Crowned as Miss Colorado in 2023, Marsh, originally from Arkansas, holds a degree in physics from the Air Force Academy and is currently pursuing public policy studies at Harvard Kennedy School.

Following her mother’s passing in 2018, Marsh played a pivotal role in establishing a charitable foundation dedicated to pancreatic cancer research and patient care.

The foundation has raised over a quarter-million dollars to date, underscoring her commitment to making a positive impact beyond the pageant stage.

As Miss America, Marsh will receive a scholarship award of $60,000 and the opportunity to serve as the brand’s ambassador, traveling the nation.

Social media buzzed with admiration for Marsh, hailing her as an “awesome role model,” “impressive,” and “smart.”

Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade praised Marsh’s win, acknowledging her inspirational influence on countless young girls to dream big and reach for the stars.

While Miss America’s brand mission is centered on “Empowering Women to Lead,” the event, with a history spanning over a century, has faced internal conflicts, legal disputes, a damaging email scandal, and enduring financial challenges, as reported by The Washington Post in 2021.

  • TERRIBLE!!! How does she fulfill BOTH obligations for a whole year without special privileges? Sorry, can’t do my job and be at the grand opening of a new gender neutral bathroom at a military base!!!

  • Undergraduate pilot training (UPT) generally takes a year at one of several pilot training bases in the U.S., then follow-on training at another location for the specific aircraft is an additional 3 months minimum up to about 9 months., if she graduated the AF Academy in May of 2023 she should not have completed UPT yet, but your article keeps referring to her being an AF Pilot. She may have her private pilot license i but do not believe she has completed UPT yet and earned her AF Pilot Wings

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