First serving soldier is crowned Miss America

Fighter pilot Madison Marsh from Fort Smith, Arkansas, takes the crown
Fighter pilot Madison Marsh from Fort Smith, Arkansas, takes the crown

A US air force fighter pilot who became the first serving soldier to be crowned Miss America said she used military fitness to win the pageant.

Second Lieut Madison Marsh from Fort Smith, Arkansas, took the award at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday night.

Pageants are changing and one of the ways is in what being physically fit means to women,’’ the 22-year-old said.

“For me, it’s great because I need to stay physically fit and in the gym for the military, so it already coincides with pageant training.”

Ms Marsh, who has a physics degree from the Air Force Academy, is studying public policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

She said she had entered the competition to “break stereotypes about women in pageants and the military”.

She added: “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 realise that you don’t have to limit yourself.”

In addition to being a qualified pilot, Ms Marsh has a black belt in taekwondo.

Marsh made a speech describing her first solo flight when she was 16. “I really try to captivate the audience by making them feel like they are in the cockpit with me,” she said.

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