2024 Miss America crown goes to active-duty U.S. Air Force officer


Air Force reservist inspires next generation


Air Force reservist inspires next generation of pilots

02:07

An officer in the U.S. Air Force was crowned Miss America on Sunday night. Second Lt. Madison Marsh is the first active-duty service member to win the annual competition, according to the Air Force.

Marsh represented Colorado, the home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, in the pageant. She graduated from the academy last year with a degree in physics, according to her Miss Colorado bio.

In December, a few weeks before the pageant, Marsh told some fellow airmen before a flight from an Air Force base in Nevada that she was “trying to make it a positive thing for the Air Force, for everyone.”

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh prepares for a flight at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Dec. 19, 2023.
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh prepares for a flight at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Dec. 19, 2023.

U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis


Marsh started competing in pageants while attending the academy.

“My cousin had competed in pageants for a long time, and one of the big things about it that I love is the community service aspect and the focus on public speaking,” she said in an interview with the Air Force Institute of Technology in November.

Since 2018, Marsh has been raising awareness and money for pancreatic cancer research through the foundation she founded with her father and sister in honor of her mother, who died from the disease. The Whitney Marsh Foundation has raised over a quarter-million dollars through events like 5K and 10K runs held in Marsh’s hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

“My mom was a huge runner, even when she was going through chemotherapy treatments,” Marsh said in the November interview.

While Miss America is known for appearing in events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Marsh will definitely be making appearances in Massachusetts — as a graduate student. She is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.





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