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Elizabeth L. Gardner

Elizabeth L. Gardner (1921–2011) was an American pilot during World War II who served as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Gardner was born in Rockford, Illinois, and graduated from Rockford High School in 1939. She was a mother and housewife before the war started. After she married, she took the last name Remba. Upon enlisting as a WASP member, Gardner "had two days of training under Lieutenant Col. Paul Tibbets, who later commanded the B-29 that dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima". She flew Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers, including the AT-23 trainer version of the bomber. One of her stations was in Dodge City, Kansas. She was trained as a test pilot and flight instructor, and she also flew aircraft that towed aerial targets. After years of fighting for recognition of their military service, the 300 surviving WASP pilots were recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

This picture shows Gardner sitting in the pilot's seat of a Martin B-26 Marauder at Harlingen Army Airfield, Texas. The often-reproduced photograph was taken when she was about 22 and became emblematic of the place of women in the service of their country.

Photograph credit: United States Department of the Air Force; restored by Hohum and Bammesk

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