Women Who Fly
Portraits of female pilots
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, December 19, 2008
Madge Rutherford Minton, Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP)
Standing in her living room with objects she has collected from around the world. Indianapolis, Indiana, 1995.
“My parents were always saying, ‘Control yourself, Madge, control yourself.’ The first really strong wish as to the future came to me the first time I saw an airplane. I was sitting on the curb eating a piece of my grandmother’s pie and this little plane was up maybe a couple or three thousand feet. It looked like a toy. I went in and I said, ‘Mother, there’s something up there and I want you to get it for me so I can play with it.’…
I guess aviation sort of became part of my subconscious. I was a student in college and I signed up for this civilian pilot training program and I was accepted, and my very first time in an airplane was my first flight lesson….
In January of 1943, I had a telegram asking me if I was interested in being a WASP, and that’s the way it began. I was twenty-two years old, and had to report to Sweetwater, Texas, to the Avenger Air Field, for training….
I said I wanted to be in the Air Transport Command ferrying division. I would like to ferry hot planes and big planes, and I wanted to be assigned to Long Beach, California, because my fiancé was stationed at the naval hospital in San Diego….
I would have flown combat. I think this is the reason I’ve been so sympathetic to the contemporary women pilots about their problems. During that period of time, it was exactly the same point of justice I fought for in college. If they wanted to do it, let them do it. They earned it. I think women should have that privilege.”