Friday, February 6, 2009

WASP Marjorie Redding Christiansen, 44-W-3

*I was born in January 10, 1920, in a homestead shack out on the Powder River, eight miles out of Broadus, Montana. Dad was trying to get the doctor, but it turned out he was out on call, delivering another baby. When dad got back, I was there.

We moved to South Dakota, where mom was born, and from there to Mystic, South Dakota, a little sawmill town up in the Black Hills, where I grew up.  I went to school at the Black Hills Teacher's College at Spearfish, South Dakota. During my last year we had the Civilian Pilot's Training, government sponsored to train pilots for the military. One girl to nine boys were allowed into the program. They had a ground school, and we were told the ones who got the best grades would get the chance to fly. They taught weather, aerodynamics, navigation, all classes that fit right in with my math and science.  I was the lucky girl.

I taught school at a small high school, not far from Spearfish. One of the fellows I flew with would fly over in his Cub and take me for a ride at noon or after school, landing in a hay field.  As soon as school was out, I headed for Wichita to work in the aircraft factories. I was a final inspector for the Beechcraft Biplane, and getting in what flying I could in the Civil Air Patrol.

Jacqueline Cochran was going to the larger cities getting names of women who wished to enroll in the WASP. Meriam Roby and I, from the Civil Air Patrol, decided to go to Texas, and get to see Jackie.  We enlisted and were assigned to class 44-3.  My assignment was Dodge City, Kansas to train on B-26's, but orders were changed. Doris Duren and I were sent to Independence Army Air Force Basic Training School for Air Force Cadets. We flew the North American BT-14s that were repaired, and flew non-flying officers on administrative duty.

After deactivation, we were encouraged to apply for jobs with the Civil Service as Aircraft Communicators. We took training in Pacific Palisades, California. I was sent to Salt Lake City, Utah and then to Fairfield, Utah Radio. There I married my boss, Raymond J. Christiansen. I could not work under my husband, so I resigned. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, became active in doing genealogy work, and helping others to do it. I trained others to be teachers at the Family History Center, and am still involved in this work, mostly by internet now.

Ray and I have six children. I was involved in Scouting for about 15 years where we started Cub Scouts in the Enoch-Parawon utah area. I was Area Director over the Cubbing for years. I recieved the 'Second Miler' award on April 9, 1973, another 'Second Miler' award on April 29, 1975, and the 'Silver Beaver' on May 11, 1976.

All our children are happily married and we have 28 grandchildren, and **four great-grandchildren.  

**written in 2001

In 2005, Marjorie was honored by the Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings Joint National Project with Wings Across America.  Several cadets were given the opportunity to visit her in  her home and to ask about her service and her life.  They will remember this petite, gentle patriot-- as will all who were blessed to meet her.    
by np


From the official notice:

Marjorie Redding Christiansen passed away on September 13, 2008 at the age of 88 due to causes coincident with age.

After the passing of her husband, Marjorie lived in Goshen, Utah with her daughter and at the time of death was living in Blanding, Utah with her son. Marjorie is survived by her brother Victor Redding, of Wiamanilo, HI, her six children, Cindy (Orville) Gerow of Goshen; Utah, Frank (Jane) Christiansen of Copperton, Utah; Mark (Debbie) Christiansen, Blanding, Utah; Teena (Bob) Taylor, of Taylorsville, Utah; Dave (Connie) Christiansen of West Valley City, Utah; and Lee (Ginger) Christiansen of Rhododendron, OR, 28 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. A viewing will be held at the Enoch First Ward on Saturday, September 27, at 9:30 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at the Enoch Cemetery

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