Friday, February 6, 2009

WASP MARY Breidenbach HANSEN, 44-W-6

HANSEN, Mary B. passed away September 04, 2008. Visitation Tuesday, Sept. 09, 2008 from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Green Hills. Funeral service 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 at Green Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary 310-831-0311.


This was the only official obituary I could find online. It was only released after paying a fee.   However, that one paragraph is not the whole story by any means. Mary was a unique woman who served her country as a WASP, and that deserves so much more.

With thanks to WASP Betty Turner for her wonderful “Out of the Blue and Into History,” I can print Mary’s story--in her own words. Below is  from p. 412.

“I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. My interest in flying began at an early age of nine years. My brother was in the Army Air Corps and he took me flying one day when I was about 12 years old. My hobby at the time was making model airplanes; I even made one of wire.

I started flying at the age of 18, at a local airfield in Birmingham, Alabama. I took several classes in aeronautics, meteorology, and cross-country navigation at this time.

I met the requirements for the WASP in the summer of 1943, and was interviewed by Mrs. Sheehy at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas. I went to work at Avenger Field as an airplane parker in hopes of an early entry into the program. In a couple of months I was accepted into the Class of 44-6 on January 8, 1944.

After graduation in June, I was stationed at Columbus, Mississippi flying engineering test flights on the AT-10 (twin-engine Beech). My second station was to be at Tyndall Field, Florida, going through B-26 school, but the decision for deactivation made such training unnecessary. I finished up the WASP program stationed at Freeman Field, Indiana flying the AT-10s.

After deactivation I found employment at North American Aviation (now Rockwell) as a graphic artist illustrating the aircraft flight manuals. The manuals that I have worked on include: AT-6, T-28,F-86, F-100, B-25, B-70, and B-1, being manufactured at the Los Angeles Airport plant. It was there I met my husband, Vic Hansen, who was an engineer in the autonetics division. After 30 years I retired, my husband retired three years later.

We have no children, so we did a lot of traveling to England, Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Kenya, Tanzania, China. We took various cruises: Caribbean, North Seas, China Seas, also Greece, Israel, Yugoslavia, Turkey and Austria, all a lot of fun. We also like playing golf. We have been living here in Rancho Palos Verdes, California since May 1959 and have no intention of moving elsewhere. We love it here.

The WASP have a Southern California Chapter that meets quarterly and I am very active in it. I am now secretary of the So-Cal WWII. My husband and i try to attend most of the national conferences.


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