Monday, February 27, 2006

Angels in the Sky

The Washington Post has an interesting article today on women combat pilots in Iraq.

Female helicopter pilots like Piro are demonstrating their valor in Iraq in one of the few direct combat roles women are officially allowed to perform in the military. Their missions often put them at risk of being hit by enemy machine-gun fire and rockets, and require them to shoot back. Piro's unit, Outlaw Troop, lost three of its eight Kiowas after insurgents shot them down over Tall Afar, and four or five others were hit by enemy fire, U.S. officers said. On Piro's first tour in Iraq, her wingman hit a wire and crashed into the Euphrates River. She and Buckhouse made an emergency landing and jumped into the water to try to save the two aviators, but they had already perished.

For a fascinating article on the greatest woman pilot in history, and the pioneer of women's military aviation, visit Steve at American Renaissance.

World War II saw Jackie persuading General H. “Hap” Arnold to let her establish and organize the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). During that time she recruited female pilots for the British Ferry Command, herself becoming the first female trans-Atlantic bomber pilot. A year later, Jackie Cochran was appointed leader of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots—the WASPS. Under Jackie, the WASPS, which included 1,000 women pilots, flew 60 million air miles and delivered 12, 650 planes to the European and Pacific theaters of war.

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