Martha Davis Rupley

Picture of Martha Rupley MARTHA DAVIS RUPLEY (Nee Wagenseil) Women's Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), World War II. Graduated WAAFFTD, Class 43-W-2, Houston, Texas. Assigned Air Transport Command, 6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach AAB, and 21st Ferrying Group, Palm Springs AAB. TDY: AAF Instrument School, St. Joseph, Mo.; AAF Pursuit School, Brownsville, Tex.; AAF Sthool,Of Applied Tactics, Orlando AAB, Fla.

Pilot rated BC-l, L-6, PT-17,Pt-19,BT-13,BT-15,AT-6,AT-17,UC-78, UC-74,C-47,C-49,C-60,A-20,B-25, B-17,P-38,P-39,P-40,P-47,P-51,P-63.

Married Capt. William H. Davis, Jr., Long Beach AAB Chapel, 12 Aug. 1944 (d.Edwards AFB, 27 Oct. 55). Three children: Kimberly, Tracy, and Erikson.

After 1955: Assistant Printing Coordinator, Douglas Aircraft, Co., Inc., 1957-1958; Editor, GM Defense Research Laboratories, 1962.1967; Editor, General Research Corporation, 1967.1970. Married Forrest E. Rupley, Santa Barbara, 28 Dec. 1970 (d. 4 Mar. 75).

Earlier: B.F.A., Syracuse University, 1939; Assistant Art Director, KM&G, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., 1940-1942.

I bought a Piper SuperCruiser, learned to fly, joined the Civil Air Patrol, and managed to get into the local Civilian Pilot Training Program, the only girl. After Nancy Love formed the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) in Wilmington, Del., Jacqueline Cochran, together with General H.H. Arnold, planned the women's flight training program. I applied, was accepted, and reported to Houston in mid-December, 1942, for primary, basic, advanced, multi-engine, night, and instrument flying.

The rest is history. A real school to train women pilots was established later at Sweetwater, Texas, and more than 1,000 capable, confident, conscientious young women joined the ranks of working pilots to release the men for combat.

In Brownsville I flew my first P-47, a khaki-colored midget compared to the enormous silver P-47D that I looked up at later at Republic Aviation in Evansville, Ind. It was not a highly polished locomotive, after all, but a solid, stable, dependable, forgiving piece of aerodynamic wizardry, and, of all the fighters, the easiest to fly.

Even though I had another airplane later in Santa Barbara, a Cessna 175, civilian flying could not replace military flying for me.

I still look up at every airplane that passes over, but I traded a lifetime of flying for a family, and I've never been sorry. I would like to have had both, but after that October day in 1955 that was not possible. The WASPs laid the foundation for the next generation of women, the airline and military pilots of today - while I play tennis and ski and give thanks each morning that I can lift up mine eyes unto the beautiful hills beyond my windows.

List of all p51 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
W.B. 'Tex' Badger Eight and Ninth Air Force in WWII. B-l7's, P-51's and P-47's. Fifth Air Force in Korea, F80's and F86's. WWII and Korea, Flew 156 missions. Tactical units served in with the USAAF and USAF were: 305th BG , 368th Fighter Group, 4th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Wing, 506th Fighter Wing.
Robert T. (Bob) Bagby He trained in P47's at Cross City and Dale Mabry Fields, Florida and then joined the 341st FS Black Jack Squadron), 348th FG of the 5th AF in Brisbane, Australia in June 1943. Bob flew 78 combat missions in New Guinea (Port Moresby, Finchafen, Sador, Wakde and Biak) primarily as wingman to squadron CO's John Campbell and John Moore. Also privileged to fly wing to Neil Kirby on several occasions.
Frank Baker After brief stops at Stone and Atcham, England he joined the 313th Fighter Squadron of the 50th Fighter Group in France. He flew 90 missions through V.E. Day. Most of the missions were close support attacks on various ground targets with a few B-26 escort missions thrown in. All of the missions took place in eastern France and southern Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.
John M. Balason To relieve the boredom, Balason went down on the deck and blew up a locomotive he had observed at altitude. A few seconds after making his strafing pass he received a hit in his left wing tank and a fire started immediately in the cockpit. The paralyzing effect of the intense heat made climbing out of the cockpit impossible.
Albert W. Barlow, Jr. He flew 69 escort and ground support missions. Destroyed one E/A (ME-I09). Was shot down on Sept. 8, 1944, and evaded enemy ground forces for 8 days. Was picked up by an American Recon. Unit behind the German lines. Was hospitalized until Feb. 1948, when he was medically retired with the rank of Capt. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and Purple Heart.
William T. Beckler In July, 1944 Beckler exchanged his P-40 for a P-47N Thunderbolt. Missions in the Jug covered Northern Italy and Southern France. These included escorting medium bombers. The Bombers, based in Southern Italy, would be escorted to France by Thunderbolts based on Corsica. Shortly before target the Jugs would pull ahead of the bombers and bomb the enemy gun positions. Beckler's activities while participation in three major campaigns earned him the DFC, two Air Medals and two Presidential citations.
Herbert R. Benson After training in P-47 Thunderbolts at bases in North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, he was assigned to the European Theatre of operations and joined the 48th Fighter Group 493rd Fighter Squadron at St. Trond, Belgium. After flying 44 combat missions, he was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf clusters.
Marvin C. Bigelow Training in the Southeast Training Command with the class of 44C, he graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant single engine pilot at Marianna, Florida with the class of 44D. After checking out in the P-40 at Marianna, he transitioned in the P-47 in the Northeast Defense Command and after gunnery at Dover, Delaware was shipped on the Queen Mary to England.
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