At 92, Joy Lofthouse is back in the sky in the fighter plane she loved so much and she hasn’t stopped smiling since. It was the first time she climbed into the cockpit of a Spitfire in over 70 years.
I know your first thought, “Wait, WOMEN flew fighter planes?”
They sure did! Maybe not in combat, but they fulfilled a vital role in the all-out effort to preserve our freedom in a time when our freedom could not be taken for granted, and the stories of their contributions need to be told!
Lofthouse flew for the British Air Transport Auxiliary, a civilian organization where women learned how to fly every kind of military aircraft imaginable in order to ferry new, repaired and damaged planes between factories, assembly plants, scrapyards and airfields. She was one of fewer than 200 women who would fly the Spitfires back and forth between the front lines and the service factories.
The world certainly has changed in the seven decades since World War II. Soon, all who lived through it will be gone. Which makes Lofthouse even more compelling. Back when she was flying those planes it was rare for anyone to even live to 90. But today, thanks to a combination of genetics, lifestyle and good fortune her memory is razor sharp, she’s still quite spry and open to adventures.
Watch her rekindle old memories in this video captured by the BBC and then read on for another incredible example!
One of the most unforgettable people I’ve ever met is Betty Wall Strohfus. She served in World War II as a WASP, Women Airfare Service Pilot, one of a select group of barrier-breakers, pioneers, role models and heroes, the first women in history trained to fly American military aircraft.
Now in her early 90s she has the energy of a small power plant. She has spent the last few years making speaking engagements, telling the stories of the WASPs to many who had little idea. During the war she was a hero for courageously breaking gender barriers by going literally where no woman had gone before, and she is a hero now for the inspiration and passion she still has for doing her part and making a difference.
I know you’ll love watching this for her story, her energy and her unique sense of humor!
Two incredible women with important stories to tell, two inspirational role models for what life can be if we’re lucky enough to blessed with health, passion and adventure. Betty Wall Strohfus and Joy Lofthouse, we salute you!!!