Kathryn Barbara Lawrence
December 3, 1920 – August 4, 1943
Entered Army Air Force flight training: Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas, July 10, 1943
Kathryn was born in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota. She was a graduate of the University of North Dakota.
While working on her B. S. in Education at the University of North Dakota Kathryn enrolled in the Civil Pilot Program (CPT) and was the first women to finish the course and earn her pilot license. She worked for the Boeing Aircraft Company until July 5, 1943, when she joined the WASP.
On August 4, 1943 at about 16:45 Kathryn got her turn in the PT-19. This was her solo flight in a plane that had had 7 other flights that day. She had accumulated almost 19 hours of flying this type of plane since her class, 43-8, started on July 5, 1943. There were no witnesses to the crash and a cause was not determined. The plane was found about 15 miles northwest of Avenger field. The plane had nosed down into the ground and Kathryn’s body was found about 150 feet from the plane. It appeared she attempted to bail out, but did not even have time to pull the rip cord. The parachute was checked and found in working order. The plane Kathryn was flying had over 600 hours. The engine had almost 18 hours. The Form 1-A also indicated, “Hole in L. Wing”.
** This form serves as your proof of military service and is often used to verify military service for benefits such as the GI Bill, VA Loan, VA medical benefits, retirement benefits, employment, and membership in veteran’s organizations.
Kay Lawrence was finally given official recognition for her service to her country. On October 14, 2006, “The air was cool and crisp, and the sun filtered through trees that have lost their leaves. The gun salute was heard and taps sounded throughout the cemetery.”