Eleanor “Mickey” McLernon Brown
November 3, 1922 – February 19, 2012
Planes flown: PT-17, BT-13, AT-6
Bases served: New Castle Army Air Base (Wilmington, Del.) and Napier Army Air Base, Dothan, Alabama
Eleanor “Mickey” McLernon was born in Tampico, Mexico on November 3, 1922 to George Justice and Marjorie Armstrong McLeron. The family later moved to San Antonio, Texas.
She fell in love with flying after her first flight at Stinson Field with her brother-in-law and thereafter spent most of her salary on flying lessons.
Following Pearl Harbor, she applied for a Civil Service secretarial position at the Aircraft Repair Depot Duncan Field, San Antonio, Texas. One day she was asked to work on the line in flight test as a general mechanics helper. She took it and loved it.
When she heard women were being trained as WASP, she made inquiry and applied for admission in 1942. Two years later, she received orders to report to Avenger Field on April 8, 1944. She received here WASP wings on November 6, 1944 and was assigned to Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama.
The WASP group was disbanded in December 1944. But instead of scrambling to find a ride home from Florida, Brown flew a plane to San Antonio, where she became the woman mechanic at Kelly Air Force Base.
At the University of Texas, Brown met Robert Storey Brown, who became her husband of 60 years.
More than a half a century later after completing her duty, Brown received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2009 for her service in the WASPs from 1944-45.
Her son, George Brown, and other family members were by her side at the nation’s Capital when she received the medal.
“The experience was thrilling and long overdue,” he said.
Over the years, some of Brown’s activities included volunteering at Christ’s Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity.
She also served as a WASP representative in the Midwestern district. Brown worked with younger generations as a 4-H leader and Cub Scouts den mother.
Brown’s active lifestyle and love for flying never died. Watch this video – when she was 86 years old, she took her last flight in an AT-6 plane with a female flight instructor!
“It was like riding a bicycle. She never forgot,” said her son, George Brown.
Fun facts for the WASP CLASS 44-W-9
- Dates: April 13,1944 – November 8, 1944
- Number of Trainees: 98 trainees, 55 graduates
- Graduation Place: Gymnasium, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas
- Graduation Speaker: Colonel E. W. Suarez, Assistant Chief of Staff, A3, AAF Training Command
- Distinguished Guests: Jacqueline Cochran, Director of Women Pilots, AAF
- Band: Sweetwater High School Band