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Dec 7, 1941 in the skies over Pearl Harbor


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Cornelia Fort.jpg

 

Cornelia Clark Fort (February 5, 1919 – March 21, 1943) was a US aviator who became famous for two aviation related events.

 

Interesting personal account from her regarding Dec 7th and her time in the WAFS.

 

http://www.wingsacrossamerica.org/assets/twilight-2.pdf

 

 

The following is from Wkipedia:

 

While working as a civilian pilot instructor at Pearl Harbor, Cornelia Fort inadvertently became one of the first witnesses to the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. Fort was in the air near Pearl Harbor teaching takeoffs and landings to a student pilot in an Interstate Cadet monoplane. Hers and a few other civilian aircraft were the only U.S. planes in the air near the harbor at that time. Fort saw a military airplane flying directly toward her and swiftly grabbed the controls from her student to pull up over the oncoming craft. It was then she saw the rising sun insignia on the wings. Within moments, she saw billows of black smoke coming from Pearl Harbor and bombers flying in. She quickly landed the plane at John Rodgers civilian airport near the mouth of Pearl Harbor. The pursuing Zero strafed her plane and the runway as she and her student ran for cover. The airport manager was killed and two other civilian planes did not return that morning.

 

With all civilian flights grounded in Hawaii, Fort returned to the mainland in early 1942. She made a short movie promoting war bonds that was successful and led to speaking engagements. Later that year, Nancy Love recruited her to serve in the newly established Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, precursor to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was the second woman accepted into the service.

 

Stationed at the 6th Ferrying Group base at Long Beach, California, Cornelia Fort became the first WAFS fatality on March 21, 1943 when another plane being ferried by a male pilot struck the left wing of the BT-13 she was ferrying in a mid-air collision ten miles south of Merkel, Texas. At the time of the accident, Cornelia Fort was one of the most accomplished pilots of the WAFS. The footstone of her grave is inscribed, "Killed in the Service of Her Country."

 

 

 

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Great addition Kat and Tom.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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She was a heck of a lady......

 

Another amazing story and not one often told or seen.

 

Many focus on the artifacts but there are hundreds of untold stories that are being lost to time.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Nice article and video, thanks for sharing it. I had heard about the search for the plane she flew, but aside from very brief mentions in books or the famous movie scene, her story was never really mainstream outside of historians or other interested people. Hopefully more of the general public will learn about her, and those who came afterward too.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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  • 1 month later...

Neat story. Thanks!

LEATHERNECK72


Advanced Collector and USMC Officer --- Paying top dollar for quality Marine Corps antiques. Kepis, shakos, helmets, hats, good conduct medals, old photos, fighting knives, hat and collar emblems, swords, guns, documents. Keep your USMC item in a Marine Corps family! Send me a PM and let me know what you have....

 

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She and her family were from Nashville, TN. They donated land to build a airstrip that was used during WW2 to train cadets. It is called Cornella Fort airport. It is located just east of downtown Nashville, along the Cumberland river. The runway is still there but the airport was closed about 10 years ago following a big flood in Nashville.

About 15 years ago, a friend of mine who was a policeman found a whole lot of her family heirlooms tossed into a dumpster at the local police station. Someone apparently cleaned out the Fort family estate and tossed mementoes away. He recovered it all and some of the items did belong to Cornella. His home was also flooded and destoyed during that same flood that shut down the airport 10 years ago. He lost all her relics in that same flood.

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