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Portrait of Mildred Axton, date unknown. Axton was "one of the first three Women Airforce Service Pilots to be trained as a test pilot" and was the first woman to fly a B-29. She passed away in 2010, age 91.

“Lilian Yonally was a WASP – a Women Airforce Service Pilot. During WWII, the 1,100 WASPs flew military aircraft on training flights in the USA to train volunteer male pilots for combat missions.”

Aeronautical engineer Laurel van der Wal had a career as a model, art instructor, deputy sheriff before training to be a pilot. At UC she became an aeronautical engineer, winning the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award in '61 when she was head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Labs. The press release emphasized that the "pretty head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Laboratories, Inc." was a "former model" even though LA Times had just named her Woman Scientist of the…

from BuzzFeed

10 Lesser-Known People Who Were The First To Accomplish Things

RUTH ODOM BONNER, DAUGHTER OF A SLAVE, OPENED NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE [VIDEO] - Ruth’s father, Elijah Odom, was born into servitude in Mississippi. He was born a slave. As a young boy, he ran to his freedom. He lived through Reconstruction and he lived through Jim Crow. But he went on to farm, and graduate from medical school and raise a family.

Lydia Litvyak. One of two Russian pilots who were the world’s only female fighting aces during World War II. She kicked Nazi butt.

Nadezhda Popova was a Russian female pilot during WWII. The German military called her one of the "Nachthexen", or "Night Witches" She flew 852 decoy missions in a canvas winged plane. Dropped food and medicine to Russian marines trapped on the beach at Malaya Zemlya. She had to fly so low that she heard their cheers. After the mission, she found 42 bullet holes in her plane.She died on July 8, 2013 at the age of 91

Aviator Jacqueline Cochran was the first woman to break the sound barrier and the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic. Learn more about this pioneer with Florida Memory. (photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

from EyeSeeMe African American Children's Bookstore

The Tuskegee Airmen: Freedom Flyers of World War II

World War II "girls" with their Airedales. These Airedales were used in World War II as sentry (guard) dogs. This photo most likely is English. Members of the Women Auxiliary Territorial Services cared for the dogs and exercised them; although the actual training was done by men (remember, this was in the forties)