Patricia Blackburn Bonansinga, 44-W-7

"I was born on September 10, 1921, in Quincy, Illinois. I became interested in joining a military service available for women as World War II progressed. The only service branch which really interested me was the WASP program. While living in Provo, Utah, I took flying lessons in order to qualify for the WASP program. After acceptance in the WASP, I entered training in Sweetwater, Texas in the class of 44-7. After graduation, I was assigned to Eagle Pass, Texas, gunnery school, where the WASP were towing targets for aerial gunnery practice flying AT-6's.

After deactivation, I enrolled with four other ex-WASP in a seven months CAA course in Seattle, which included intensive training in Morse code as well as aircraft communications. After completing the course we were all assigned to various CAA stations in Alaska. My assignment was in Fairbanks, Alaska. After a winter of minus 40 to 50 degree weather, I returned to Seattle and joined Pan America Airlines as a stewardess flying to Alaska. After a year and a half of flying this route, I transferred to the Pan Am San Francisco base, flying routes to the Far East, India and Australia. One of my flights from Hawaii to Wake Island, I enjoyed a visit with Jimmy Doolittle and his wife.

After leaving the west coast to be closer to my home in Illinois, I took a position with an insurance company in Madison, Wisconsin, and eventually returned to my hometown, Quincy, where I met and married my husband Joe, the Vice President and General Manager of WGEM TV and radio station. We celebrated 31 years together, and remain in good health with a few aging problems.

I have always felt my time with the WASP was a major experience in my life for which I am forever grateful."

In her own words from WASP Betty Turner's book: "Out of the Blue and into History"




Read Patricia's obituary

posted  June 18, 2007