Media Contact & Press Kit​

Welcome to our media contact and press kit page. Here, you will find all the information you need to cover Merryl and her achievements.


If you’re a journalist, blogger, or event organizer looking to feature, interview, or invite Col. Merryl Tengesdal, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll find all the resources you need to understand her groundbreaking career, her contributions to aviation and the military, and her impact as a role model and leader.

We hope this Media & Press Kit provides you with the resources you need. We look forward to collaborating with you to share Col. Merryl Tengesdal’s inspirational story and insights with a wider audience.

Merryl Tengesdal is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel renowned for her trailblazing career as one of the first African American female U-2 pilots. She has shattered glass ceilings, defied stereotypes, and become a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals. Col. Tengesdal has flown numerous combat missions and has held various leadership positions during her service.

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Merryl's Official Bio

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The Official Line

Groundbreaking aviator, author, and retired Colonel Merryl Tengesdal made history as the first and only African American woman USAF U-2 Pilot. For over two decades, Tengesdal served as a Naval Aviator and Air Force Combat Pilot, deploying worldwide in support of combat and military operations and piloting the “Dragon Lady” high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. She has extensive command and senior leadership experience, most recently serving as the Director of Inspections for the Air Force Inspector General overseeing a program for 860K Airmen, and was the first woman selected to be Commander of Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Detachment 2, overseeing a multi-billion-dollar testing program. Tengesdal’s remarkable journey is chronicled in her memoir, Shatter the Sky: What going to the stratosphere taught me about self-worth, sacrifice, and discipline, and her riveting storytelling leaves audiences feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to reach new heights.


Tengesdal starred on CBS’ Tough as Nails, promoting increased minority involvement in the Trades. She has also appeared as a commentator on PBS’ UNLADYLIKE2020: The Bessie Coleman Story, as a technical consultant on Bridge of Spies, and as a featured contributor for Smithsonian Channel’s Air Warrior. Tengesdal was inducted into the 2019 Gathering of Eagles Foundation as an aviation pioneer and is a dedicated advocate for increasing women and children of color in STEM. In sought-after events with groups like Lockheed MartinWomen Impacting Storebrand Excellence, the Transportation Leadership Forum, and more, Tengesdal shares her experiences and insights on leadership as a woman and person of color in spaces where women and people of color are underrepresented, maximizing physical and mental health, and applying military leadership to business enterprises and everyday life.

Merryl, In the Press

Merryl has been featured on the following brands and more

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