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HomeGeneralUS Air Force Officer Madison Marsh Wins 2024 Miss America Pageant

US Air Force Officer Madison Marsh Wins 2024 Miss America Pageant

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A picture of  US Air Force official Madison Marsh
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In a historic victory, 22-year-old US Air Force officer Madison Marsh won the 2024 Miss America title in Orlando, Florida. The Second Lieutenant and master’s student at Harvard Kennedy School achieved the feat while representing Colorado. Therefore, she is the first active-duty Air Force officer to win the Miss America pageant.

A native of Colorado, Marsh emerged as the pageant’s winner after an intense contest involving fifty-one contestants. The competition included contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, following a series of preliminary competitions and a series of decisive rounds, Marsh emerged as one of the top five finalists.

Marsh came first, and Ellie Breaux came in second. The two were followed in the final rankings by second, third, and fourth-runners-up Cydney Bridges of Indiana, Mallory Hudson of Kentucky, and Caroline Parente of Rhode Island, respectively.

In the discussion round, which included topics involving terrorism, technology, nutrition, and climate change, Marsh stood out. She responded to the topic of “Drugs in America” by recalling her late mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. Also, in the talent round, she presented a spoken-word piece centered on receiving a pilot’s license at 16.

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Afterward, the five finalists faced an additional question about their goals as Miss America. Marsh responded by highlighting her military credentials as embodying her commitment to learning and leading “with passion.” Also, her Miss Colorado biography reflects her diverse pursuits. 

She noted that she enjoys flying planes, cooking pasta, and reading in her free time. Following Marsh’s victory, many praised and supported her. Even the US Air Force commended her success on social media. Before winning Miss America, Marsh found her passion in United States Air Force Academy pageants.

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“My cousin had competed in pageants for a long time,” she said in an interview with the Air Force Institute of Technology in November 2023. “And one of the things I love about it is the community service aspect and the focus on public speaking.”

Also, in a recent interview with The Harvard Crimson, Marsh highlighted the similarities between military service and pageantry. She said, “When I put on my uniform, I serve and represent our country.” However, she noted, “When I put on the crown and sash, I’m serving, representing my community.”

Besides pageantry and military service, Marsh is also the co-founder of the Whitney Marsh Foundation. She established the foundation with her family in memory of her mother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2018. “My mom was a huge runner, even when going through chemotherapy treatments,” Marsh said in her profile.

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“When we talked about ways to raise money,” she added, “We wanted it to remember who my mom was and not what cancer had made her.” Hence, Marsh noted that they “Started the Whitney Marsh Foundation and specifically hosted a 5K and 10K run every year.” 

With the foundation, Marsh raises funds for pancreatic cancer research and has garnered over a quarter-million dollars. In addition, as Miss America, Marsh enjoys a scholarship award of $60,000. Also, she assumes the role of national brand ambassador, traveling and promoting the organization’s mission of empowering women to lead.

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