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Sat, Mar 02, 2019

Gone West: WASP Kay Gunderson

Pioneering Aviatrix Lived To 103 Years Old

Another of the WASPs has Gone West. Kay Gunderson, who joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots in 1943, passed away February 12 at the age of 103.

Television station KCNC reports that Gunderson had a lifelong interest in aviation, and began her military career training pilots on the Link Trainer. When she learned of the WASPs, she immediately applied and was part of the fifth class of women pilots to fly for the service.

Gunderson flew a variety of missions, according to the report, including towing targets for machine gun practice at Eagle Pass, Texas. Her plane even took one round through its tail, but she was able to land safely. While her daughter Sheila told a CBS4 reporter that she said she was never sure she would return from one of those target-tow missions, she was never afraid of the flights.

Gunderson also delivered new airplanes to bases all over the country, trained pilots on new technology, and ferried service personnel to where they were needed.

Gunderson was one of the WASPs to receive a Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

While she truly enjoyed being a mom, she continued flying after leaving the service. She took helicopter lessons in her 80s, according to her daughter Kathryn.

(U.S. Army image)

FMI: Source report

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