Female World War II pilot receives military funeral honors after nearly 70 years
6:51 PM, May 27, 2013
7:46 PM, May 27, 2013
TROY (WXYZ) - Twenty-year-old Marie Michell–Robinson was a member of the Woman's Air Force Service Pilots during World War II.
She wasn't supposed to fly one day in early October 1944.
Instead, the Detroit native was in the process of sending a birthday card to her dad.
That day, her roommate was assigned to co-pilot a B-25 bomber as part of a training exercise in the Mojave Dessert.
"Her roommate had a toothache and said 'would you like to fly'… and she jumped at the opportunity," said Michell-Robinson's niece Cheryl Michell. "Threw the card in the mail for her father, and said I'm out of here."
There was trouble with the plane that day and it crashed.
Michell-Robinson had only been married two weeks when she died.
Her niece told 7 Action News Michell-Robison was not given a full military funeral honors because she was a woman. For years, Michell has been fighting to change that.
This Memorial Day, a service was finally held, with a Color Guard, at White Chapel Memorial Park in Troy where the fallen hero is buried.
A red line marked where family members crossed to place roses at her grave site. It symbolized the barriers Michell-Robinson and her fellow She-roes had to cross during that era.
"To think that a woman my size and only 18, 19-years-old was flying [a B-25 Bomber] was amazing," said Michell.
Michell-Robinson's brother received a folded American flag. Over the years, Michell has accepted awards from presidents and congress on behalf of her aunt.
"She was absolutely fearless," said Michell. "She did what most women wouldn't think to do but she did it without thinking twice."
She has been inspired to research all of the fallen members of the WASP program.
There were 37 other flags that were placed at the grave to honor the women in the air corps who were killed during World War II.
Michell has started a website to honor them. She told 7 Action News she is still looking for information on a few of the women.