Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WASP Peggy Moynihan McCaffrey, 44-5 June 10, 2012

Peggy Moynihan McCaffrey,  daughter of Charles Joseph “CJ” Moynihan and Marguerite Catlin Moynihan, was born on Jan. 15, 1922, in Montrose, Colorado.   She graduated from Montrose High School  and  received her  BA  from the University of Colorado in 1943.  While attending school,  Peggy earned her private pilot's license at Combs and Haden's Airfield, where she worked as Clearance Officer and Dispatcher.

In May, 1943,  following her graduation from college,  Peggy was accepted and entered the Army Air Forces flying training program for women pilots as a member of class 44-5.  After  successfully completing the  seven months of training,  she graduated and received  her silver WASP wings.

After graduation, she was assigned to  Bainbridge Army Air Field in Bainbridge, Georgia as an engineering test pilot and ferry pilot. 

After the WASP program was disbanded in December 1944, Peggy joined the American Red Cross Clubmobile Unit and served in the European theater, where she met John Edward McCaffrey.

Returning to the states in mid 1946, Peggy and John were married and settled in Colorado to begin their lives together. Eventually,  they had five children: Kathleen Tabor, Patricia Wagner, Margaret McCaffrey, Edward McCaffrey and Anne Gibbins.

After raising her children, Peggy entered Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado where she earned her Teacher Certification  in 1966. She taught language arts at Montrose Junior High from 1966 to 1974.  She then started the homebound program for the Montrose school district, where she taught homebound students from 1974 to 1985.   

Peggy retired from the school district when her husband accepted a position with the Department of Defense as Superintendent of ELHI at the US missile range at Kwajalein Military Base in the Marshall Islands. While in the Marshall Islands, Peggy worked at Father Leonard Hacker's Queen of Peace Mission on the island of Ebeye.

Before returning to Montrose in 1989, Peggy and John traveled throughout the South Pacific, the Far East and Europe.  In 1989, they fulfilled a life-long ambition to travel to Ireland and Scotland.   From 1996 to 1998, Peggy served as the National Secretary for the National WASP Organization.

On March 10, 2010, Peggy and all WASP  were awarded a U.S. Congressional Gold Medal for their pioneering  service during World War II.

Peggy made her final flight on Sunday, June 10, 2012. She was preceded in death by her parents; her two brothers, Jack and Dale Moynihan; and her sister, Alice Mills.  Two of her children, Kathleen and Anne, currently live in Montrose.  Patricia lives in Denver, Margaret lives in Tucson, Ariz., and Edward lives in San Diego, Calif. She had nine grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

A mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday, June 14 at 10 a.m. in St. Mary Catholic Church. Donations may be made to the Heart Association or Sharing Ministries in her name.


Respectfully edited and reposted from  the Montrose Daily Press, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 with additional information  from WASP Betty Turner's "Out of the Blue and Into History" in Peggy McCaffery's own words: pp. 401-402.

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