116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
One of the early female pilots in the Cedar Rapids area was Nadine Kirkland, who earned her pilot’s license in 1940 at age 19.
She served in the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, and had 80 hours of flying time by May 1942 during World War II.
The Cedar Rapids Civil Air Patrol squadron had eight women pilots, including Helen Krengela and Maxine Weed, who accompanied Kirkland to Des Moines for training exercises in August 1942.
“The girls,” The Gazette reported, “are uniformed the same as men; have the same duties with virtually no exceptions; are charged with the same responsibilities. … At the Des Moines assembly, girls shouldered guns, carried MP billy clubs with the men."
It would be another three decades before a major American airline hired a woman pilot.
Kirkland married photographer Thomas Merryman in 1956, and they continued to live in Cedar Rapids, where they raised their daughter, Dianna.
Nadine Merryman died at age 88 in 2009.
Tara Templeman is curator at The History Center. Comments: email@example.com