Pilot becomes first active-duty Air Force officer to win Miss America title

Monday, January 15, 2024
 – Madison Marsh became the first active-duty Air Force officer to be crowned Miss America.

She beat out 50 other contestants to earn the top spot in the 2024 Miss America pageant that took place in Florida on Sunday night, Jan. 14.

The 22-year-old 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force and graduate intern at Harvard Medical School won the title of Miss Colorado last year before she earned the nationwide honour.

“Congratulations to our very own #Airman, 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, aka Miss Colorado – who was just crowned @MissAmerica 2024,” the US Air Force posted on X.

The new Miss America graduated from the Air Force Academy last year just days after she clinched Miss Colorado. She is also studying at the Harvard Kennedy School in hopes of receiving a Master’s degree in public policy.

Marsh, an Arkansas native, had to soar through three nights of preliminary competitions before the field was reduced to only 11 contestants. That handful then faced off in four categories, including a discussion round and evening gown presentation before a winner was picked, CNN reported.

During the discussion round, Marsh mentioned her mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2018. The tragic death motivated her to start the Whitney Marsh Foundation to raise money for cancer research.

During the talent round, she offered a spoken-word piece that addressed earning her pilot’s license at 16.

When she was asked more questions as one of the top finalists, she reportedly talked about her military career which she said represents how she leads and learns “with passion.”

“It’s an awesome experience to bring both sides of the favourite parts of my life together and hopefully make a difference for others to be able to realize that you don’t have to limit yourself,” Marsh previously said about competing in pageants and training with the Air Force.

Ellie Breaux, who is Miss Texas, was awarded first runner-up in the pageant.

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