Local World War II Pilot, Margaret Kerr Boylan dies at 89

Margaret Kerr Boylan spend a great deal of her life in the sky. Literally. At 19 years-old she was a junior pilot and would often fly from her home in Oklahoma to Roswell, New Mexico to visit a dear cousin at the New Mexico Military Institute.

Sometimes, if you looked closely, you could see her flying en route to Minnesota, in search of fresh bushels of berries that she would collect for breakfast.

When Ms. Boylan, 89, died on Oct. 11 due to complications from dementia at her home in Staunton, Va., she was one of the remaining women pilots of World War II.

In 1942, Margaret Boylan made history, she began her training as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.  The WASPs played a major role in the war effort by flying newly minted planes to air bases around the country. Once there, male pilots would fly the planes overseas.  Women were not allowed to fly abroad during this time.

The WASPs also, unlike their male counterparts, did not receive any federal benefits for their service from 1942-1944.

“We just didn’t question things that much during the war,” said Mrs. Boylan. “We were so pleased and delighted to have the chance to fly those aircraft.”

Decades later in the mid-1970s, Boylan took to Washington as a leader in a group of former WASPs  lobbying to gain federal benefits and veteran status.  They were successful and in the fall of 1977, they received recognition from Congress.

Source: Washington Post Sumday, Nov. 21, 2010

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