WASP, CLASS 43-W-4
More and more often, we bring you sad news. Today we share news of the
passing of another WASP...a pioneer...one-of-a-kind...who has left behind
such a wonderful legacy. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the family of
Faith "Bucky" Richards, an incredible woman -- one of those special ladies
who loved to fly.
Faith was one of the first WASP to agree to be interviewed by Wings
Across America. Unfortunatly, funding has kept us close to Texas...and we
were not able to interview Faith. However, she has been online with WASP on
the WEB from the very beginning, volunteering to answer questions thru
emails from all over the world. We are grateful for the time she shared with
our visitors, answering questions, offering inspiration, and touching many,
many lives. As WASP Elizabeth McKeethan Magid wrote in 1943, "She is only
flying higher...higher than she's ever flown."
Below is reprinted from the
| Faith Richards,
81, a resident of Albuquerque, died Friday, September 20, 2002.
She is survived by her daughter, Nancy Hoing of Albuquerque; and
grandchildren, great-grandchildren and cousins.
In 1943, Faith joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in
Sweetwater, TX. Although her assignment was ferrying aircraft
from Wilmington, DE, she was soon test hopping aircraft and shuttling
personnel. In December of that year, she was
transferred to Greenwood, MS, where she spent the next 22 months. One of
only two women on the base, she soon became "Bucky".
During her WASP career, she flew 16
different aircraft, including the BT-13, AT-6, B-26 and B-24. In the early
1970s, Faith became the 74th woman in the free world to receive a helicopter
rating. But her time in the sky was not over.
(click image to see photo)
In 1995, at the age of 74, Bucky did it
again. Needing help to get in, and out of the aircraft, she was checked out
in a glider. The love of flying kept her near aircraft throughout her
career. After deactivation, Faith worked with United Airlines in Chicago and Braniff Airways in Dallas. The owner of a travel agency in Albuquerque, she
hit the skies again, this time in a balloon. She finally retired from
American Airlines in 1986. Faith was a member of the Governor's Advisory
Board for Women Veterans for the State of New Jersey.
A past President of the WASP, she served on the Board as Education
Chairman. A former board member of the Women Military Aviators (WMA), she
was a member of the local 99 chapter and is Number 74 in the Whirlygirls. In
1999, she was inducted into the Aviation
International Forest of Friendship. She can be found in many exhibits
throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
and Women's Memorial in Washington, DC. In 1998 and 2000, Faith was featured
in museum exhibits in Frankfurt, Germany and the exhibit in 2000 was
dedicated to her. This year, 2002, a film/production company in Germany
dedicated, and named, their blimp 'Bucky'. She
will always fly.
Of special note is what Faith gave of herself. As a volunteer at the
Veteran's Hospital, she counseled female veterans. A noted speaker, Faith
gave speeches and participated in aviation related seminars across the
country. She dedicated herself to children. Often asked to give
presentations at schools, she emphasized the importance of following a dream
and told her story. Her dream was to fly. Memorial services will be held
Sunday, September 29, 2002, at 4:00 p.m., at St. Michael and All Angels
Episcopal Church, 601 Montano Road NW, with Father Brian Taylor officiating.
Cremation has taken place and enichement of remains will take place in the
columbarium at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
In lieu of
flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Vista Sandias Hospice. French
Mortuary, 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE.