miempowerment  Lt. Colonel Merry Tengedal
Lt. Colonel Merryl David Tengesdal
First African American Woman in history and the world to Fly Air Force Elite U-2 Stealth Plane


This is a true life visionary with a dream and passion that made the dream come into reality. From childhood being raised in the Bronx she had the dream of being in space as an astronaut . she excelled in her academics. Merryl was also a trekie fan.

Her drive led her for fully complete her early years education successfully which led to her being accepted into the University of New Haven. She graduated and attained her electrical engineering bachelor’s degree in 1994. She then attended the Naval Officers’ Candidate School. Upon graduation she earned her commission as an officer with the rank of Ensign. She then graduated from the U.S. Navy’s fight-aviation program in Pensacola, Florida where she began her military career by flying the SH-60B Sea Hawk Helicopter at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. During her time there, she deployed on two long cruises and multiple short cruises to the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. After a three-year sea tour in helicopters, she went on to become a T-34C and T-6A Instructor Pilot. Upon completion of her T-6A Instructor Training, she became one of four Navy Instructors to train Navy and Air Force students at Joint Student Undergraduate Pilot Training (JSUPT) at Moody Air Force Base in southern Georgia. This led LT. Colonel Tengesdal toward her goal of becoming the first African American female to fly the Air Force’s elite U-2 spy plane the legendary stealth planes the U.S. Air force deploys for risky reconnaissance missions. In 2004 that dream became a reality and Lt. Colonel Merryl became the first African American Woman to have this achievement. Tengesdal, currently stationed at NORAD, and still is the first African American female to fly the Air Force’s elite U-2 spy planet to date. An achievement through her uncompromised persistence, vision and passion a true life pioneer who worked for this recognition and not handed the placement.

1994 Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering, University of New Haven, CT
2005 Air Command and Staff College, Non-Resident Program, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2008 Masters of Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle University, Florida

ACC Aerospace Physiologist of the Year 2008
Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Air Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

Ensign: 9 September 1994
Lieutenant Junior Grade: 9 September 1996
Lieutenant: 9 October 1998
Major: 5 April 2004
Lieutenant Colonel: 1 February 2010

BYNS 2015


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