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]

CBS Is Live-Streaming Its 1969 Coverage of the Apollo 11 Launch Right Now on YouTube

The Saturn V rocket lifts off with the Apollo 11 mission on July 16, 1969.
The Saturn V rocket lifts off with the Apollo 11 mission on July 16, 1969.
NASA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Today is the 50th anniversary of the July 16, 1969 launch of the Apollo 11 mission, which resulted in the first Moon landing in history. CBS News is commemorating the momentous event with a YouTube live stream of its special coverage from that day, which you can watch below.

CBS anchor Walter Cronkite brought all the thrill and wonder of the takeoff into the homes of countless Americans, and he also introduced them to three soon-to-be-famous astronauts: former Navy pilot Neil Armstrong, Air Force colonel Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and former Air Force fighter pilot (and experimental test pilot) Michael Collins.

Cronkite chronicled the astronauts’ journey from their 4:15 a.m. breakfast at the command space center to Kennedy Space Center’s launch station 39A, where they boarded the Saturn V rocket. CBS sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun reported from the Florida beach itself, interviewing spectators who were hoping to witness history happen in real time. “I just hope they make it successfully and have no problem," said a visitor from California.

In the final seconds before liftoff, Cronkite counted down, not knowing what the future of the mission would hold.

Tune into the live stream below, or check out the highlights from CBS News here.

[h/t CBS News]

Alan Turing, WWII Codebreaker Who Was Persecuted for Being Gay, Is the New Face of England's £50 Note

Bank of England
Bank of England

The Bank of England has chosen a new person to grace one of its pound sterling notes, the BBC reports. Alan Turing, the computer scientist who lent his code-breaking expertise to the Allied powers in World War II, will soon be the new face of the £50 banknote.

Alan Turing's life story has been the subject of a play, an opera, and the 2014 Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Turing's biggest claim to fame was cracking the Enigma code used by the Nazis to send secret messages. By decrypting the system and interpreting Nazi plans, Turing helped cut World War II short by up to two years, according to one estimate.

Despite his enormous contributions to the war and the field of computer science, Turing received little recognition during his lifetime because his work was classified, and because he was gay: Homosexual activity was illegal in the UK and decriminalized in 1967. He was arrested in 1952 after authorities learned he was in a relationship with another man, and he opted for chemical castration over serving jail time. He died of cyanide poisoning from an apparent suicide in 1954.

Now, decades after punishing him for his sexuality, England is celebrating Turing and his accomplishments by giving him a prominent place on its currency. The £50 note is the least commonly used bill in the country, and it will be the last to transition from paper to polymer. When the new banknote enters circulation by the end of 2021, it will feature a 1951 photograph of Alan Turing along with his quote, "This is only a foretaste of what is to come and only the shadow of what is going to be."

Turing beat out a handful of other British scientists for his spot on the £50 note. Other influential figures in the running included Rosalind Franklin, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, Stephen Hawking, and William Herschel.

[h/t BBC]