Mary H Gosnell, WASP, 44-6
May 28, 1916 - August 2, 1993
Page available since 7/5/2002 - last updated 11/21/2003
Some of the following information was provided by Nancy Salisbury, Mary Helen's daughter. Other information was gathered from Out of the Blue and Into History, by Betty Turner, and On Final Approach by Byrd Granger. The two photos in the text were provided by Texas Women's University.
Mary was born in Lawerenceville, Illinois, on May 28, 1916.
Mary joined the WASP in the summer of 1944 and graduated on August 4, 1944, with 72 other women. After graduation she was assigned to Grand Island Army Air Base in Grand Island, Nebraska. While stationed there she learned to fly the B-17, C-46, C-47, and C-54. She was the copilot for General Frank Armstrong, CG/17th Operational Training Wing.
Mary was one of 6 women stationed at Grand Island. She became life long friends with one Dora Dougherty-Strother, who was a graduate of class 43-3. After serving at Grand Island, Both Mary and Dora were sent to Wendover Army Air Base a top secret base in Wendover, Utah, where they supported the transport and ferrying for the atomic bomb project. They were there under the direction of Col. Paul Tibbetts. (B-29s are also in use at this base. Dora had earlier been drafted by Col. Tibbetts and given three days intensive training in the B-29. Dora and another WASP, Dorothea Johnson, flew the B-29 for less than a month. When word got back to Washington, DC., that was the end of that.)
In October, 1944, Mary and Dora were sent on a shuttle mission to Albuquerque, New Mexico. They are delivering top secret hardware and to maintain secrecy, the two women a locked into the cockpit of the cargo plan before the cargo was loaded and remained there until the cargo was delivered and unloaded. Luckily, there were not inflight incidents that they could not have escaped from.
After the WASP were deactivated in December, 1944, Mary got married to ... and had three children, Nancy, Janet, and Howard. After raising a family and working as a bookkeeper for ... she retired in .... Mary Helen died on August 2, 1993. Here is an excerpt from her obituary: