In a historic triumph, 22-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Madison Marsh, an active-duty Air Force officer, secured the title of Miss America 2024, making her the first serving US soldier ever to be crowned in the prestigious pageant.
The victory unfolded during the event held in Florida over the weekend, where Marsh outshone 50 other contestants to claim the coveted title. A master’s student in the Harvard Kennedy School’s public policy program, Marsh had previously earned the title of Miss Colorado, marking the beginning of her remarkable journey to the top of the pageant world.
Marsh’s exceptional achievement was celebrated by the US Air Force, with a congratulatory message acknowledging her dual roles as an Airman and Miss America. The mayor of Colorado Springs, Yemi Mobolade, also expressed his admiration for Marsh’s success, commending her for inspiring countless girls to dream big and reach for the stars.
Congratulations to our very own #Airman, 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, aka Miss Colorado — who was just crowned @MissAmerica 2024! Marsh is the first active duty servicemember to ever win the title.#AimHigh pic.twitter.com/3RuDu5CulW
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) January 15, 2024
Graduating from the Air Force Academy just days after winning Miss Colorado, Marsh is now pursuing a Master’s degree in public policy at Harvard, showcasing her commitment to both military service and academic excellence.
The newly crowned Miss America faced rigorous competition, participating in three nights of preliminary rounds before emerging as one of the 11 finalists. The final showdown featured four categories, including a discussion round and an evening gown presentation.
Marsh’s journey to the crown was not only marked by her poise and elegance but also by her resilience and dedication to important causes. During the discussion round, she shared a personal connection to pancreatic cancer, revealing that her mother’s tragic death in 2018 motivated her to establish the Whitney Marsh Foundation, aimed at raising funds for cancer research.
In the talent round, Marsh delivered a powerful spoken-word piece, narrating her experience of earning a pilot’s license at the age of 16. Her multifaceted talents and achievements underscored her ability to balance the demands of a military career with participation in beauty pageants.
As the first serving US soldier to be crowned Miss America, Marsh’s victory is not only a personal milestone but also a symbol of breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes. In response to questions during the final rounds, Marsh eloquently spoke about her military career, emphasizing the fusion of her passion for pageantry and dedication to serving in the Air Force.
Reflecting on her unique journey, Marsh expressed the significance of bringing together different aspects of her life and inspiring others to realize that limitations need not define one’s potential.
U.S. Air Force officer Lieutenant Madison Marsh crowned as Miss America 2024, making history as the first active duty to win the crown. pic.twitter.com/b1GQSMCgpu
— AMERICANDREAM09 🇺🇸 Jack Media ~DREAM (@JackMedia7) January 17, 2024
The 2024 Miss America, hailing from Fort Smith, Arkansas, has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the pageant’s history, showcasing the strength, resilience, and excellence that define her as both a military officer and a beauty queen.