Elvira Griggs Cardin
August 26, 1913 – November 14th 2008
Planes flown: PT-19, BT-13, AT-6, B-26, B-24, L-5, UC-78, A-24, A-25
Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.)
Assigned bases: Hondo Army Air Field (Tex.), Dodge City Army Air Base (Kan.), Pueblo Army Air Base (Colo.), Peterson Army Air Base (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Elvira Griggs Cardin was born in Tacoma, WA., in 1913, the youngest of four children.
*excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 21, 2008
After attending high school at Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut, I attended Pomona College in California and graduated from the University of Washington in 1935, majoring in French. After graduation, I went to New York City and worked for Mademoiselle magazine. In 1937, I traveled to Berlin, Germany then to France.
I started to fly and get into the WASP. At that time no civilians could fly near the Coast. I moved to eastern Washington and flew to get 100 hours and went into the WASP–class 43-8.
After graduation, I was stationed at Dodge City Army Air Base, Dodge City, Kansas, at a B-26 school. I towed targets in the B-26, then to Hondo Army Air Base in Hondo, Texas, and to Pueblo Army Air Base, Pueblo, Colorado. I flew other planes like the AT-17, AT-6.
In 1947, I married a man I had known all my life, Pat Cardin, and we moved to Lafayette, California. We had two sons, Kim and Christopher.
Elvira was a spirited and accomplished woman. She was an excellent equestrian, a Women’s Air Service Pilot in WWII with over 2000 hours of flight time in heavy bombers, an enthusiastic supporter of the Lindsay Museum and a devoted wife and mother. As a young girl riding her favorite pony named Tony, she famously walked him through the front door of her parent’s house into their living room to protect him from the teasing of the neighborhood boys. A WASP pilot, she loved flying the responsive AT-6 trainers and twin-engine B-26 bombers, but pronounced the four-engine B-17s “slow and ponderous.” A number of her total flying hours came on trips between the base at Sweetwater and Corpus Christi on the Gulf. The base commander loved fresh crab, and Elvira was always ready to fly to the coast and return with his delicacy strapped into the front cockpit of her AT-6.