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Leader First and Fastest

On May 11, 1906, world-renowned aviator Jacqueline Cochran was born. She held more speed, distance, and altitude records than any other flyer during her career, receiving over 200 awards as a pilot.

In 1941, Cochran piloted a bomber to England and, as a flight captain in the British Air Transport Auxilliary, she trained women pilots for war transport service. Returning to the United States, she became the director of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, the WASPs that supplied more than a thousand auxiliary pilots for the Armed Forces.

Cochran became a jet pilot. In 1953, Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier. She continued after her retirement as full colonel in the Air Force Reserve as a special NASA consultant.

Among honours and awards Cochran received over her career include Harmon International Trophies, Bendix race trophies, a General William E. Mitchell Memorial Award for her contribution to aviation, the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal, France’s Légion d’honneur, air medals from several European countries, and the USAF Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. She was featured on a 50¢ 1996 US postage stamp. The Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport, California, is named for her. The Jacqueline Cochran Air Show is held there in November.

Aviation Great, Jacqueline Cochran, on commemorative U.S. postage
Aviation Great, Jacqueline Cochran, on commemorative U.S. postage

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage