Navy to Honor History-Making Jet Pilot, Rosemary Bryant Mariner, With First All-Female Flyover

Captain Rosemary Bryant Mariner died on Thursday, January 24 after living with ovarian cancer for five years. The military leader made history in her 65-year lifetime by becoming the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet, one of the first six women to earn their Navy pilot wings, and the first woman to command an air squadron. Her funeral service in Maynardville, Tennessee will mark another milestone: The Navy plans to honor her with a flyover of all women pilots, a first in the branch's history, NBC News reports.

Mariner was born in 1953, at a time when women weren't allowed to be military pilots. Despite the rule, she dreamed of one day flying planes for her country, and she made sure she'd be the perfect candidate for the job if the opportunity ever arose. By age 17, she had obtained her private pilot's license, and by 19, she'd earned her aeronautics degree from Purdue University. The next year, the Navy began accepting women into its flight program, and Mariner was among the first class of female U.S. naval aviators.

Not only was she the first woman to fly a fighter jet and command other pilots, but she also became president of the Women Military Aviators organization in the early 1990s and fought to roll back combat restrictions on women in the military.

On Saturday, February 2, the Navy will honor the late captain with a "missing man flyover"—a ceremony reserved for prominent military members and political figures. During the service, women aviators from squadrons based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia will fly four F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in formation, culminating with one plane ascending vertically away from the group.

Though the late captain's husband, retired Navy commander Tommy Mariner, told NBC that Rosemary wouldn't have asked for an all-female flyover, he said it's wonderful that the Navy now has enough women members to make that possible.

[h/t NBC News]

22 Weird Jobs From 100 Years Ago

Metal Floss via YouTube
Metal Floss via YouTube

Before everyone started working in tech, people actually had their choice of eclectic and strange vocations that put food on their old-timey tables. Discover what lamplighters, lectores, and knocker-uppers did back in the day as Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy runs down 22 Weird Old Jobs from 100 Years Ago.

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The Definition of Museum Could Be Changing

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
roman_slavik/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve always casually defined museum as “a place to see art or historical objects,” you’re not necessarily wrong. But the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has a more specific, official guideline that defines a museum as “a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates, and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study, and enjoyment.”

ICOM’s 40,000 members have been adhering to this definition for almost 50 years to represent more than 20,000 museums around the world. Now, The Art Newspaper reports, some members want to change it.

On July 22, the organization’s executive board convened in Paris and composed a new definition that Danish curator Jette Sandahl believes better suits the demands of “cultural democracy.” By this updated description, a museum must “acknowledg[e] and addres[s] the conflicts and challenges of the present,” “work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world,” and “contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality, and planetary wellbeing.”

The proposal immediately elicited harsh reactions from a number of other members of the museum community, who felt the text was too ideological and vague. François Mairesse, a professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and the chair of the International Committee of Museology, even resigned from the revisory commission—led by Sandahl—earlier this summer when he realized the new definition wasn’t, by his standards, really a definition. “This is not a definition but a statement of fashionable values, much too complicated and partly aberrant,” he told The Art Newspaper. “It would be disastrous to impose only one type of museum.”

The current plan is for ICOM members to vote on the definition at the general assembly on September 7 in Kyoto, Japan, but 24 national branches and five museums’ international committees have petitioned to postpone the vote—they’d like some time to create their own definition for museum and present it as a counter-proposal.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]