Marjorie Doris Edwards was born, according to family history, on September 30, 1918, in Anaheim, California. (Other accounts state September 28, in Fullerton, California.) She was the daughter of Frederick C. and Bessie Marie Edwards, who owned a small farm in the Anaheim area. Originally used as an orchard, today the land is part of Disneyland.
"Margie," as she was known, graduated from Anaheim Union High School in 1936, and then attended Santa Barbara State Teachers College, today known as The University of California at Santa Barbara. While there, she learned about flying from her boy friend who was a pilot. She taught in a Junior High School in Baldwin Park, California for a time, but soon moved to a teaching position at John C. Fremont High School in Anaheim.
She had always maintained she wanted to fly, so after Pearl Harbor, she attended a flight school in Phoenix, Arizona for 2 summers, and got her pilot's license. She then stated her ambition was to join the Women's Air Service Pilots (WASP) unit and ferry aircraft. She worked briefly for Douglas Aircraft Company and was accepted as a WASP candidate, reporting to Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas on December 7, 1943. (One account says Jan 8, 1944.)
She was a member of Pilot Class 44-W6 at Avenger Field. On June 13, 1944, she was on a cross-country training flight from Vernon to Amarillo when the engine of the AT-6 she was flying quit. She bailed out, but according to reports, although she pulled the parachute release, low altitude prevented the chute from opening properly. One account states she may have been struck by the tail assembly. Her body was found approximately 75 yards from the wreckage of the T-6 which crashed near Childress, Texas.
Family history states her body was returned to Anaheim and buried there. According to new info provided (6-13-2014), she is buried in Loma Vista Memorial Park in Fullerton, California.
WASP Marjorie Doris Edwards was one of 38 WASP killed in service.
WASP Marjorie D. Edwards was flying AT-6C # 42-3884 when the accident occurred, and she was fatally injured.
WASP personnel were not considered as part of the Armed Forces during World War II. In fact, it was 1977 before they were recognized as veterans, and were entitled to benefits available to other veterans. Public Law 95-202 bestowed veteran's status and privileges upon these women in 1977. In 1984, a law awarded the World War II Victory Medal to those who had served. Those who served for more than one year were also awarded the American Campaign Medal.
While in service, they had no military rank, although they were usually recognized and awarded privileges equal to a 2nd Lieutenant. However, they collected $150 per month while in training, and $250 per month afterward. They were responsible for purchasing their own food, uniforms, and lodging.
In 2010, The WASP, as a collective unit, and as individuals, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in tribute to their willingness to serve and for their dedication to duty.
1943-1944, AT-6 Texan
From Year 1943
To Year 1944
AT-6 Texan Details
* Crew: two (student and instructor) * Length: 29 ft (8.84 m) * Wingspan: 42 ft (12.81 m) * Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.57 m) * Wing area: 253.7 ft (23.6 m) * Empty weight: 4,158 lb (1,886 kg) * Loaded weight: 5,617 lb (2,548 kg) * Powerplant: 1 Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp radial engine, 600 hp (450 kW)
* Maximum speed: 208 mph at 5,000 ft (335 km/h at 1,500 m) * Cruise speed: 145 mph (233 km/h) * Range: 730 miles (1,175 km) * Service ceiling 24,200 ft (7,400 m) * Rate of climb: ft/min (m/s) * Wing loading: lb/ft (kg/m) * Power/mass: hp/lb (kW/kg)
* Provision for up to 3 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun