99-year-old Biloxi resident reflects on WASP Training during WWII

In celebration of Women’s History Month, one 99-year-old Biloxi senior is discussing her Women Airforce Service Pilots training during World War II.

Ninety-nine-year-old Mary Jane Crews is a brave and fearless woman who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was eager to spread her wings and do something most women were not doing at that time. “A friend took me up in a little old plane one time and I just fell in love with the air. I felt like king of the mountain.”

Crews loved airplanes so much she decided to try and join WASP, also known as ‘Women Airforce Service Pilots,’ a group of women who flew and ferried planes during World War II. She learned how to fly a Piper J3 Cub airplane. “I could do the spins, back that plane up with your feet, and put it in a spin. I did fine on that and I did fine on the takeoff and I could land a plane but not a force landing, so I didn’t pass the test.”

Although Crews did not get the opportunity to join, she didn’t let that stop her. She went to work for Douglas Aircraft. “We made airplanes. We made that B-24 and an A-26, a small plane. I worked on small planes.”

When her husband, Sam Crews, returned home from war, Crews stopped flying and started a family, having six children, three boys and three girls. Her family grew even more with 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. “I love having a big family. There was just my brother and I in my family.”

Now, Crews lives in Brookdale Senior Living Facility in Biloxi where she often tells her inspiring stories to residents and associates. “You know, I’m almost 100, but I’m in pretty good shape and still enjoy life and enjoying my family.”

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