Orphaned at an early age, the exact date of “Jackie” Cochran’s birth is unknown. However, we do know that her most distinguished
aviation career began in 1932 when she obtained her pilot’s license after only three weeks of instruction. From this point
on, she dedicated her life to aviation. Participating in her first air race in 1934, she earned the respect of fellow pilots
for her competitive spirit and high skill. Her performance in various aviation events of the 1930s is legendary. Cochran is
credited with many significant flight accomplishments attained during her flying career. Among these is her 1964 flight in
the F-104 Starfighter where she established a speed record of 1,429 miles per hour. At the beginning of World War II she became
a Wing Commander in the British Auxiliary Transport Service, ferrying U.S. built Hudson bombers to England. With the U.S.
entry into the War, she offered her services to the Army Air Corps and formed the famed Women’s Air Force Service Pilots.
This group, over 1,000 strong, played a major role in the delivery of aircraft to the combat areas throughout the world. For
this service she was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal. Some of the honors she has been accorded include the Harmon
trophy, the General William E. Mitchell Award, Gold Medal of the Federation Aeronauteque, and decorations from the numerous