The Mercury 13

January 1, 1961

Mercury 13 Astronaut Training Group selected – Nation: USA.

Background: Randolph Lovelace was director of the clinic where the Mercury astronauts had undergone their physical examinations. He and Jacqueline Cochran, the first American woman to break the sound barrier, wanted to prove that women were equally qualified to be astronauts. In early 1961 they arranged for 20 highly qualified female pilots to take the same physical tests undergone by the Mercury astronauts. Thirteen passed the tests, but NASA maintained its position that astronauts had to be qualified test pilots (all of whom were white males). One of the thirteen was the wife of a US Senator, and some congressional hearings were arranged. Despite the publicity NASA was still unwilling to place them in the official NASA training program.

Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,500 flight-hours/10 years experience, bachelor’s degree or equivalent, under 40 years old, under 180 cm height, excellent physical condition.

Bernice Steadman

Named "B"; belonged to the first female group, which was not accepted from the NASA. Bernice Steadman was a veteran of many Air Races and began flying at an early age, earning her Private Pilot's License at age 17, and her Commercial Pilot's License in 1946. She founded and operated her own flight school, charter service and Fixed Base Operations at Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan. She held an Airline Transport Pilot license and taught Reserve Air Force pilots after WWII. She was inducted into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in October of 2002 and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2007 she was honored by presentation of a Doctor of Science Degree by the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. 1, 2

Gene Nora Stumbough

Gene Nora heard about the research program going on at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque while serving on the faculty at the University of Oklahoma. She wrote a letter to Dr. Lovelace outlining her aviation and educational background, asking to be accepted. Lovelace wrote back "come on". She and Janey Hart, who came in the same way and was an inspirational partner, were the 24th and 25th women to undergo the physical exams. Though Gene Nora (pronounced Janora) was told she passed the tests, she never met Dr. Lovelace, nor was she told that she was in an astronaut training program, and so always considered it research.

Since a new semester was starting at the same time as the continuing testing (fall of 1961), Gene Nora quit her job to participate in Phase II. Only a few days later the program was discontinued, and Gene Nora took a temporary job as a flight instructor until in 1962 she captured what at the time was (to her) the best possible job in aviation for a female. She flew as a sales demonstration pilot for the Beechcraft factory in Wichita, Kansas. Initially she flew as one of the Three Musketeers, an introductory formation flight through the contiguous forty-eight States over a ninety day period. The job evolved into additional ratings and flying the entire Beechcraft line. She met her husband Bob at Beechcraft, and they eventually migrated west to set up a Beechcraft dealership in Boise, Idaho.  Through the years, Gene Nora has remained active in aviation serving on the Boise Airport Commission, as President of the Ninety-Nines, on various community boards, participating in the founding of two aviation museums, and, raising two children. The Jessens own an active fixed base operation in Boise, Idaho; and, of course, they continue to fly.
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Irene Leverton

Irene was 34 and single when she was solicited by Dr. Lovelace. A strong willed woman of German descent, her first aviation experience was as a child in Chicago. She and her Mother would go to a local park to partake of parachute rides!  Wanting to pursue aviation, and more so, to fly fighters, she attempted to join the WASP when she was 17 by using a fake logbook and older friends birth certificate. These women admired the WASP greatly and at the time that was the best flying a woman could do. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. It didn't stop her though, as by 1961 when she received her call, she held a Commercial Pilot's license, with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, instrument ratings, and airplane single engine sea ratings - and built up more than 9,000 hours - far more than any Mercury 7 astronaut.

In 1965, Irene attempted a Pacific Ocean crossing in a single engine Comanche - 7 hours and 30 minutes out of San Francisco she had an electrical fire. All radio equipment out, no navigation gear available at all, she turned around and 7 hours and 15 minutes later landed back in San Francisco.  Irene continued to fly after the Mercury 13 testing, and up until recently still flew part time for a manufacturing company in Arizona. She currently works with a Civil Air Patrol squadron, Squadron 206, as a flight check pilot. She has in excess of 25,400 hours, and holds an ATP with multi engine land ratings, and possesses commercial privileges in single engine land, single engine sea, multi-engine sea and glider. She also holds an instrument rating and is a certified flight instructor. She recently trained 2 multi-engine students in a Turbo Seneca II and a Cessna 310. She currently owns a consulting business, Aviation Resource Management in Arizona and is a designated Aviation Safety Counselor through the FAA.
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Jane Briggs Hart

Wife of the US Senator from Michigan, Philip Hart, and the daughter of Walter Briggs, millionaire owner of the Detroit Tigers. One of the group of women who went to the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1961 and underwent the same medical and psychological tests that the Mercury 7 astronauts had completed. She was one of the Mercury 13 finalists, considered qualified by Dr. Lovelace for astronaut training. Hart earned her first pilot's license during World War II, and later became the first licensed female helicopter pilot in Michigan.  In the early 1960s, Hart was chosen to participate in the Lovelace Foundation's Woman in Space Program, a privately funded project designed to test women pilots for astronaut fitness by subjecting them to the same physical tests developed by NASA for astronauts.

At the age of 40, Hart became one of only 13 women (later dubbed the Mercury 13) to qualify.  Hart was born in Detroit, Michigan, on October 21, 1921, to businessman Walter O. Briggs and Jane Cameron. She attended the Academies of the Sacred Heart in Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and Torresdale, Pennsylvania, and Manhattanville College in New York. In 1970, at age 49, she received her BA in anthropology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  On June 19, 1943, she married Philip Hart. The couple would go on to have nine children, one of whom died as a toddler. In 1958 Philip Hart was elected to the United States Senate, where he served until 1976. Like her husband, Hart had an abiding interest in politics. She was active in her husband's political campaigns (including piloting him to campaign stops) and served as vice chairman of the Oakland County (Michigan) Democratic Committee. She was a founding member of the National Organization for Women, and served as board member and national convention delegate for the Birmingham, Michigan League of Women Voters.  While living in Washington, Hart gained a reputation as a non-conformist.[5] She was also active and vocal in her opposition to the Vietnam War, which was sometimes awkward for her husband, the Senator. For example, in 1969 she was arrested in an antiwar demonstration at the Pentagon, and In 1972, she announced her intention to stop paying federal income taxes, stating, "I cannot contribute one more dollar toward the purchase of more bomb and bullets". Despite this, Senator Hart was unwavering in his support for his wife even though he did not agree with many of her decisions.  Hart was also an avid sailor and has sailed in the Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race 15 times as part of an all-women crew.  After her husband's death, Hart donated several boxes of scrapbooks, photographs and newspaper clippings of her life as a senator's wife to the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library. Hart died on June 5, 2015 in West Hartford, Connecticut from complications resulting from Alzheimer's disease, aged 93.
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Janet Dietrich

Jan Dietrich was a pilot and member of the Mercury 13 Astronaut Training Program. The Dietrich twins, high flying queens of the sky who are in training at Oakland Airport for the 2400-mile women"s transcontinental air race starting Aug. 15 from Santa Ana. The twins, ex-University of California aces. they are sponsored by the Taloa Academy of Aeronautics and the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce. 7-23-57. * At the dawn of the space race in the early 1960s, Bay Area pilot Janet Christine Dietrich was one of 13 women who underwent secret astronaut testing, passing the same rigorous physical and psychological assessments as the men who became immortalized as America's first astronauts.

It was a venture financed by noted aviator Jacqueline Cochran, and though the women never did reach the stars, the group later known as the Mercury 13 helped lay the groundwork for a future generation of female space travelers. "She would've dearly loved to have been in space," said Miss Dietrich's niece, Linda McKenzie. "That was the ultimate." Miss Dietrich died June 5 of natural causes in a San Francisco convalescent hospital, her family said. She was 81.Over a 34-year aviation career, Miss Dietrich accumulated more than 12,000 hours in the pilot seat, winning prizes and setting records along the way.  Miss Dietrich and her identical twin, Marion Dietrich, entered the inaugural Chico-to-San Mateo Air Race in 1947. They took first place, defeating experienced men.  After placing in other local races, the flying twins collected the second-place trophy in the 1951 All-Women's Transcontinental Air Race, known as the "Powder Puff Derby."  Then in 1960, Miss Dietrich became the nation's first woman to earn an Airline Transport Pilot License, the highest Federal Aviation Administration license, which she parlayed into a career of commercial flying that lasted well into the 1970s. Born in San Francisco in 1926, she was the daughter of Richard Dietrich, who worked in the import business, and his wife, Marion. Miss Dietrich began flying at an early age, getting a student pilot certificate at age 16. She and her sister were the only girls in an aviation class at Burlingame High School.  As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, Miss Dietrich was president of the UC Flying Club and trained as a pilot at Oakland International Airport, where she earned her private pilot license in 1946.  Soon after graduating from Cal in 1949, her family said, Miss Dietrich became chief pilot of Cessna, then the world's largest light-plane distributor, located in Long Beach. In her job, Miss Dietrich delivered multi-engine aircraft from the factory in Wichita, Kan., conducted test flights for the shop, flew charters and supervised the flight and ground schools.  In the late 1950s, Miss Dietrich worked as a federal pilot examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration, performing pilot evaluations and issuing certificates. Then Miss Dietrich, joined by her twin sister, stepped into astronautics history. They were among a select group of female aviators invited to the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, where experts had screened potential NASA astronauts.  The women underwent the same medical tests and examinations as John Glenn and the other men who eventually traveled into space. The extensive exams included everything from swallowing 3 feet of rubber hose to drinking radioactive water.  Though only 5 feet 3 inches tall and 100 pounds, Miss Dietrich completed the regimen of tests, as did her sister and 11 other women. While the women waited for the next phase of their program in July 1961, the testing was halted without warning or explanation. It would be two more decades before the United States launched its first woman into space, Sally Ride, an astrophysicist turned astronaut. Miss Dietrich later took a job with World Airways, an Oakland corporation that became a key military contractor during the Vietnam War. In that capacity she piloted regular flights between the war zone and World's base at Oakland International Airport.  The death of her twin sister in 1974 brought Miss Dietrich's piloting career to an end.  "It was like losing her right arm," said Miss Dietrich's younger sister, Pat Dietrich Daly of Point Reyes Station. Throughout Miss Dietrich's life, Daly said, there had been many suitors, but "all wanted her to give up flying." She never married. In 2006, the International Women's Air & Space Museum opened an exhibit honoring the Mercury 13 - Mercury Women: Forgotten Link to the Future. And in May 2007, the women of Mercury 13 received honorary doctor of science degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
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Jean Hixson

Another WASP, Jean Hixson of Akron, later became the second woman to break the sound barrier, which she did over Lake Erie. But Hixson wanted to go even higher -- and so she became part of another experiment: Project Mercury, which tested 13 American women to become the first astronauts, reasoning that women, who are generally smaller and eat less than men, would make the most efficient astronauts. Although Hixson passed every test required -- and was determined to be the best of the group -- NASA decided it would go against the "social order" of the time to send women into space first. Although Hixson never made it to space, she certainly blazed a trail for those who did.  1, 2

Jerri Sloan Truhill

Jerri T. was first exposed to flying at the age of 4, when she sat in the cockpit of an airplane that flew her father to a business meeting in Texas. The bug bit, bit hard and never let go - and she let her father know she loved flying. However, her father's advice was reflective of the era: "Work hard, do well in school and you can grow up to be an air hostess and fly all the time". Jerri, of course, protested saying she wanted to be a PILOT! Her father did his best to explain the facts of life in that era, "Honey, girls just don't fly airplanes, that's MENS work". Well, if you know Jerri, standards of an era like that are a minor inconvenience, at best. When she was 15, she began taking flying lessons after school without the knowledge of her parents. She was determined and wasn't about to let antiquated thinking deter her. Unfortunately she was caught - her Mother was APPALLED! And Jeri was sent off to a Catholic school in San Antonio It never diminished her desire though, nor changed her mind. It was simply a speed bump in the airway of life and pretty soon she would be past that bump.

By 1960 she had proved her point - if Jerri makes up her mind to do something, there isn't anything that will keep her from her goal. She was now one of the county's most experienced pilots. Based out of Dallas, Texas, she was in partnership with one of the greatest pilots she ever met, Joe Truhill (who she would eventually wed). They flew North American B-25's, the venerable twin-engine bomber from WWII and Korea, the same planes used by Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders to bomb Tokyo in 1942. They flew them under contract to Texas Instruments, Incorporated, developing the Terrain Following Radar (TFR) and "smart" bombs that were later known for their great job in the Gulf War. Harrowing and VERY dangerous flying, they would launch at night due to the absolute secrecy of the missions and fly out over the Gulf of Mexico. Then they would drop down right on the deck sometimes churning water with their props, and turn on the TFR and let it go. Those of you that are pilots recognize the inherent dangers of doing this: darkness, no visible horizon reference, down LOW, unable to visually detect relationship to the water or even SEE it, and trusting a new, untried system with your life at speeds in excess of 180 knots. It was VERY top-secret stuff, and scary!
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Jerry Cobb

Cobb is the daughter of Lt. Col. William H. Cobb and Helena Butler Stone Cobb. As a child growing up in Oklahoma, Cobb took to aviation at an early age, with her pilot father's encouragement. Cobb first flew in an aircraft at age twelve, in her father's open cockpit 1936 Waco biplane. At 16, she was barnstorming around the Great Plains in a Piper J-3 Cub, dropping leaflets over little towns announcing the arrival of circuses. Sleeping under the Cub's wing at night helped scrape together money for fuel to practice her flying by giving rides. By the age of 17, while a student at Oklahoma City Classen High School, Cobb had earned her private pilot's license. She received her commercial pilots license a year later. In 1948, Cobb attended Oklahoma College for Women for a year. By age 19, Cobb was teaching men to fly. At 21, she was delivering military fighters and four-engine bombers to foreign Air Forces worldwide.

Facing sex discrimination and the return of many qualified male pilots after World War II, she had to take on less sought after jobs, such as patrolling pipelines and crop dusting. Nevertheless, she persisted. She went on to earn her Multi-Engine, Instrument, Flight Instructor, and Ground Instructor ratings as well as her Airline Transport license. Cobb went on to set new world records for speed, distance, and absolute altitude while still in her twenties. When she became the first woman to fly in the Paris Air Show, the world's largest air exposition, her fellow airmen named her Pilot of the Year and awarded her the Amelia Earhart Gold Medal of Achievement. Life Magazine named her one of the nine women of the "100 most important young people in the United States."[4][5] To save the money to buy a surplus World War II Fairchild PT-23, and a chance to be self-employed, Cobb played women's softball on a semi-professional team, the Oklahoma City Queens.[1] Due to the return of many qualified male pilots after World War II, Cobb had to take on less sought-after jobs, such as patrolling pipelines and crop dusting. She went on to earn her Multi-Engine, Instrument, Flight Instructor, and Ground Instructor ratings as well as her Airline Transport license. In 1953, she was employed by Fleetway, Inc., ferrying war surplus aircraft to various air forces and civilian aircraft enterprises, including to the Peruvian Air Force. At a fueling stop in Ecuador, she was arrested for suspected espionage. After two years, Cobb returned to the United States and became a pilot and manager for the Aero Design and Engineering Company, which made the Aero Commander aircraft she used in setting her three world aviation records: the 1959 world record for nonstop long-distance flight, the 1959 world light-plane speed record, and a 1960 world altitude record for lightweight aircraft of 37,010 feet. She was one of the few women executives in aviation and was also the first woman to fly in the Paris Air Show. In addition to these aviation accomplishments, Cobb was one of the thirteen Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATS) (also referred to as the Mercury 13), who underwent the same physical tests as the original Mercury astronauts. She went through NASA's rigorous testing program and passed all the training exercises, ranking in the top two percent of all astronaut candidates. In May 1961, NASA Administrator James Webb appointed Cobb as a consultant to the NASA space program for the future use of women as astronauts. However, she was unable to rally support in Congress for adding women to the astronaut program and so resigned from her position. Cobb then became a private pilot conducting humanitarian aid missions to the peoples of the Amazon rain forests in six South American nations, spending her time as a solo pilot delivering food, medicine and other aid to indigenous people while surveying new air routes to remote areas. Cobb has been honored by the Brazilian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, French, and Peruvian governments. Over her career Cobb received numerous aviation awards, including the 1959 National Pilot's Association Pilot of the Year; the Harmon International Trophy; the Amelia Earhart Gold Medal of Achievement; the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award; and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale's Gold Wings Award. Cobb published two autobiographies, Woman Into Space, and Solo Pilot. In 1999, Cobb was the subject of an unsuccessful National Organization for Women campaign to send her to space (like Senator John Glenn) to investigate the effects of aging. She continues her relief efforts for the peoples of the Amazon. By 1959 (age 28) she was a pilot and manager for Aero Design and Engineering Company, which also made the Aero Commander aircraft she used in her record making feats, and was one of the few women executives in aviation. By 1960, she had 7,000 hours of flying time and held 3 world aviation records: the 1959 world record for nonstop long-distance flight, the 1959 world light-plane speed record, and a 1960 world altitude record for lightweight aircraft of 37,010 ft.[6] In May 1961, NASA Administrator James Webb appointed Cobb as a consultant to the NASA space program.[4] Although she never flew in space, Cobb, along with twenty-four other women, underwent physical tests similar to those taken by the Mercury astronauts with the belief that she might become an astronaut trainee. All the women who participated in the program, known as First Lady Astronaut Trainees, were skilled pilots. Dr. Randy Lovelace, a NASA scientist who had conducted the official Mercury program physicals, administered the tests at his private clinic without official NASA sanction. Cobb passed all the training exercises, ranking in the top 2% of all astronaut candidates of both genders.
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Marion Dietrich

American pilot, one of the Mercury 13 female pilots declared fit for astronaut duty in 1961, but never entered training.Status: Deceased.  Born: 1926.  Died: 1974-12-01.  Birth Place: San Francisco, California. Degrees in mathematics and psychology from the University of California, Berkley, 1949. Jan and Marion Dietrich were identical twins, 34 years old when they received notification from the Lovelace Clinic that they had passed the screening tests for astronaut training. They graduated together from the University of California, Berkley in 1949. Marion worked for a time as a newspaper reporter for the Oakland Tribune, flying supersonic as a passenger in a fighter aircraft on a story assignment. She became a pilot as well, flying charter and ferry flights. By the time she went to the Lovelace Clinic for her astronaut medical screening, she had 1500 hours of flying time. Astronaut 1960 to 2001. One of the group of women who went to the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1961 and underwent the same medical and psychological tests that the Mercury 7 astronauts had completed. She was one of the Mercury 13 finalists, considered qualified by Dr. Lovelace for astronaut training. Died of cancer.

Myrtle Cagle

Cagle was born on June 3, 1925 in South Carolina and the family home was in Selma, North Carolina. Cagle had always wanted to fly from a young age.  When she was 12, her brothers taught her to fly using the plane they owned. When she "earned her wings" at the age of 14, she was the youngest pilot in North Carolina, and at the time, may have been the youngest in the United States. She joined the high school's aeronautics class, when the school's instructor was drafted to fight in World War II, she finished out her year as the teacher. As a Flight Instructor she was nicknamed, "Captain K". Cagle earned her private pilot's license when she was nineteen. Cagle joined the Civil Air Patrol, the Ninety-Nines, and wanted to become a WASP. Cagle went on to run an airport near Raleigh and her own charter plane service. In 1950, she earned a trophy in the Powder Puff Derby. She earned her Commercial Pilots license with Airplane Single and Multi-Engine Land ratings and Instrument ratings by 1951. She was also a certified Flight Instructor, Flight Instrument Instructor and Ground Instructor.

Her flight school was located in Selma.[6]Cagle began writing a column called "Air Currents" in 1946 for the Johnstonian Sun newspaper in Selma.[1] Later the column was moved to the Raleigh News and Observer from 1953 to 1960.[1] When she flew a T-33 jet trainer, she became one of only five women who had "ever piloted a jet."[2] She moved to Macon, Georgia, in 1961. Not long after she arrived, she was invited to participate in the new Women in Space Program.[9] Cagle had 4,300 hours of flying time by the time the program started.[8] Cagle and the twelve other women participants eventually became known as the "Mercury 13."[10] During the program, Cagle was warned by the administrators not to become pregnant.[2] Among the multitude of tests she underwent as part of the program, she noted that one of the worst tests she faced was having her eardrums frozen.[2] In 1961, "K" Cagle received her invitation to the Lovelace Clinic, while plying her trade as a flight instructor in Macon, Ga. The 5'2, 100 pound, 36 year old pilot, while small in stature (as were the Mercury 7 men who had height and weight constraints due to fuel and weight requirements of lifting a capsule) had built up a VERY impressive 4,300 hours of flying time - more than some of the Mercury 7 men. She held a Commerical Pilots license, with Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land ratings, an Instrument rating and was a Certified Flight Instructor, Certified Flight Instrument Instructor and Certified Ground Instructor. She also holds an A&P (Airframe and Power plant) license, making her a certified aviation mechanic as well. And that's not all, she's also a licensed Nurse.  Also bit by the flying bug at an early age, she attempted to join an aeronautics class in her high school. As she learned to fly at age 12 (taught by her brother) it was easy for her mother to convince the principal to allow her to join the class. She did so well, that when the instructor was drafted, she stepped in and finished the year as the teacher.   Afterwards, "K" returned to Georgia, and resumed flying as an Instructor and with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It's not unusual to have seen her as of late, up to her elbows in grease working on an airplane engine.
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Rhea Woltman

Rhea was born a farm girl in central Minnesota and has beautiful Scandinavian features. She once flew a Piper Super Cub on floats from Houston, Texas to Lake Hood in Anchorage, Alaska. Did it completely by herself, too. She also towed gliders for Cadets at the Air Force Academy, and instructed in them also.  She has flown in the International Women's Air Race and in the Powder Puff Race. She possesses a Commercial Pilots License, with Airplane Single Engine and Multi Engine Land ratings, a Single Engine Sea rating, an Instrument rating is a Certified Flight Instructor Airplane and Certified Ground Instructor. She has flown all over the United States including Alaska, as well as Canada and Mexico.  Shortly after the testing at Lovelace, Rhea stopped flying professionally. She is currently one of the few Parliamentarians left, and is quite in demand. She lives in Colorado.

Sarah Gorelick

Born in Kansas City, KS, Sarah was working for AT&T as an Electrical Engineer when solicited by Lovelace for testing. She received the phone call on Saturday, and was in Albuquerque, NM at the Clinic on Monday.  Educationally, she was as qualified as any Mercury 7 astronaut, with a B.S. in Mathematics, with minors in Physics and Chemistry. At 28 and single, she held a Commercial Pilots license, with Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land ratings, Single Engine Sea, Instrument, Rotor and Glider ratings. Sarah was a free spirited sort, and participated in 6 All Women Transcontinental Air Races (Powder Puff), and numerous others including the International Women's Air Race.  After the testing was complete, she left AT&T and became an accountant. She now works for the IRS in Kansas, and still pokes holes in the sky for fun, in a Cessna 172.

Wally Funk

Wally Funk has been flying professionally since 1957 and she has accumulated over 19,600 hours of flying time. As a child, she was interested in mechanics and built model airplanes and ships. At the age of 14 Wally became an expert marksman, receiving the Distinguished Rifleman's Award. At the same time she represented the southwestern United States as Top Female Skier, Slalom and Downhill races in United States competition. At age 16 she entered Stephen's College in Columbia, Missouri. She graduated in 1958 with an Associate of Arts degree and rated first in her class of 24 flyers. In 1964 her work in aviation was recognized when she became the youngest woman in the history of the college to receive the Alumna Achievement Award.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and earned her Commercial, Single-engine Land, Multi-engine Land, Single-engine Sea, Instrument, Flight lnstructor's and all Ground Instructor's ratings at Oklahoma State University. While attending OSU Wally was elected as an officer of the famous "Flying Aggies" and flew for them in the International Collegiate Air Meets. She received the "Outstanding Female Pilot" trophy, the "Flying Aggie Top Pilot" and the "Alfred Alder Memorial Trophy" two years in succession. Her first job at age 20 was at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as a Civilian Flight Instructor of noncommissioned and commissioned officers of the United States Army. To date, as a professional Flight Instructor she has soloed more than 700 students and put through thousands of Private, Commercial, Multi-engine, Seaplane, Glider, Instrument, CFI, Al and Air Transport Pilots. In February 1961, at the age of 21 Wally volunteered for the "Women in Space" Program with an independent clinic which had the support but not the official sponsorship of NASA. Only twenty-five women were chosen for testing. Wally underwent a series of rigorous physical and mental tests and passed with a very high average, rating 3rd in the field of 13 qualifying candidates - (read all about it). It was at that time that Wally became fully absorbed with the idea of becoming an astronaut and traveling into space. Wally has since flown the C.S.T. Apollo Static Space Simulator at Edward's Air Force Base Flight Test Center. In the fall of 1961, Wally accepted a job as a Certified Flight Instructor, Charter, and Chief Pilot with an aviation company in Hawthorne, California. In recognition of her outstanding ability, accomplishments and service to her community, country and profession, Wally was selected as one of the "Outstanding Young Women in America" in 1965. Later, she was listed in "Who's Who in Young Women in America" and "Who's Who in Aviation". She has received the FAA Gold Seal as a Flight Instructor and became the 58th woman in the United States to receive the Airline Transport Rating. In 1970, she received the Commercial Glider Rating and taught five Aeronautical Science classes at Redondo High School in California. She was recognized by Sacramento's Educational Board for giving high school students a head start and interest in aviation. Wally was a goodwill flying ambassador on an extensive 3-year tour entailing fifty countries and covering some 80,000 miles in Europe and the Mid-East, including the circumscribing of Africa. While touring Russia, an attempt was made to meet Valentia Tereschkova in Moscow. The Russian government decided that this meeting might not be a good idea, due to competition in space flight programs at the time. However, she and Wally did have the opportunity to meet some years later at another event. In 1971 she was the first woman to successfully complete the FAA General Aviation Operations Inspector Academy course, which includes Pilot Certification and Flight Testing procedures, handling accidents and violations. This exposure has led to an interest in other aspects of flying, namely: parachute jumping, ballooning and hang-gliding.
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