WW II uncovered
: Mildred "Micky" Axton Makes Aviation History: First to Pilot the B-29
Mildred "Micky" Axton, of Coffeyville Kansas, earned her pilot's
license in 1940 and was the only woman in her class in the Civilian Pilot Training program at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
In 1943 Micky joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) 43-W-7 training class. After graduation she was assigned to Pecos Army Airfield Base in Texas. She was one of the first three Women Airforce Service Pilots to be trained as a test pilot as well as a ferry pilot. In 1944 she left the WASP program and went to work at the Boeing Aircraft Plant in Wichita Kansas as a flight test engineer.
According to the Boeing Aircraft Archives: "On May 4, 1944, she was one of the crew of nine aboard "Sweet Sixteen," the 16th of 1,644 B-29s rolled out from the Wichita plant.
"I was back in the aft flight blister when Elton Rowley (chief of engineering flight test) called back over the intercom and said, 'Micky, how'd you like to come and fly this thing?' I was just absolutely in hog heaven!" she recalled.
"So I put my parachute on my back and crawled through the tunnel which was over the bomb bay, to the front. He gave me the left seat and I flew the plane," Axton said. "The problem was, it was all so top secret. I could only tell my husband." Rowley did write a letter, however, verifying her feat. Micky Axton had just made history as the first woman to pilot a B-29" (Boeing Frontiers, May 2006, Volume 5, Issue 1)
"On May 21, 1979, that WASP members received retroactive status as military veterans. During their service, they delivered more than 12,000 aircraft and logged more than 60 million miles in more than 70 types of airplanes, including Douglas and Boeing bombers. Eleven were killed during training and 27 more died during active duty."
"The Commemorative Air Force Jayhawk Wing in Wichita restored a Fairchild PT-19 and renamed it "Miss Micky" to honor Axton." Micky passed away on February 6, 2010 at the age of 91. A trailblazer in her own right, Micky will always be remembered as the first woman pilot to fly the B-29. Lest We Forget.
original description and photo sourced by: US Army, Boeing Frontiers, May 2006, Volume 5, Issue 1, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Ancestry Database and US Department of Defense (Fair Use Photos)