NORFOLK, Virginia - A group of fighter pilots is getting ready to perform a first, an all-female military flyover.

The U.S. Navy pilots are going to fly their F/A-18 jets over the funeral for Captain Rosemary Mariner in Tennessee.

She was the first woman to fly fighters for the Navy and the first to serve aboard an aircraft carrier.

The pilots say Mariner was a trailblazer.

"I think as female aviators we stand on the shoulders of giants, certainly as combat aviators, and Rosemary Mariner was one of those giants," said one of the pilots, Lieutenant Commander Danielle Thiriot, U.S. Navy.

The pilots will perform the symbolic "missing man" formation for Mariner's funeral. That maneuver involves four aircraft flying in formation, with one of them pulling up and away as the group passes over the ceremony on the ground. 

Mariner, 65, passed away on January 24, 2019, after a battle against cancer. She was born in Harlingen, Texas and grew up in San Diego. She was a professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville at the time of her death.

Image of Captain Rosemary Mariner.

Mariner became a naval aviator in 1974. She flew the A-4E/L Skyhawk and the A-7E Corsair II and was the first female aviator to command an operational air squadron.

All of the aviators in the flyover will be flying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, the Navy said.