Sunday, May 10, 2009

WASP Peggy Parker Eccles, 44-W-4

WASP Peggy Parker Eccles passed away on May 9, 2009, the day before Mother's Day. She had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and was fighting the good fight. Our prayers go out to her family.

Peggy's story is posted below--in her own words.

I was born on February 16, 1921, in Oregon City, Oregon. My inspiration and love of flying came from my father, also a pilot. I was a junior at Mills College when I got my pilot license in 1941. The Civilian Pilot Training program (CPT), was offered at Mills College, in California's San Francisco Bay area. When I began college at 16, I intended to head for medical school. I also wanted to fly to get the feeling of the third dimension.

After I finished the CPT training during my senior year of college, I was interviewed after spring vacation, I was asked to become a WASP right away. I opted to wait until after I graduated from college in June of 1942. I passed the required physical, but somehow my papers got lost somewhere at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas. After inquiring about the delay, I got my orders to report to Sweetwater, Texas.

I was upon graduation, assigned to the Air Transport Command in Romulus, Michigan. I mostly ferried the B-24 anf B-17 to point of embarkations, which included Great Falls, Montanna, the San Francisco Bay area and Newark, New Jersey. I also flew several Norsemen to Montreal, Canda, which were crated and sent to England. Then I was sent to the Second Air Force Training Command, and assigned to a B-29 base near Alamogordo New Mexico, where I acted as a taxi service for four physicists at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I would fly the men from New Mexico to Edwards Air Force Base in California, on to Washington, DC. The entire project was very hush-hush! I even had to carry a gun while I transported those men.

After deactivation, I continued in aviation one year with other WASP at the Palm Springs Airport in California for awhile. I also taught flying and continued to ferry planes. I married Julian Eccles. We have three children: Ted Eccles, Ralph Eccles and Jill Frodsham. All of whom presented me with seventeen grandchildren.

I continue to fly whenever I get the opportunity. I sold my Klamath Falls residence and now spend part of the year in Palm Desert, California, and part of the year at Lake of the Woods in Oregon, which I believe is the best of all worlds at this point.

Peggy's story reprinted from WASP Betty Turner's "Out of the Blue and Into History"

More will be posted as information changes.

God bless you all,

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