Madge Rutherford Minton
March 22, 1920 – November 7, 2004
Planes flown: AT-6, B-17, PT-17, P-40, P-47, P-51, P-39
Assigned bases: Long Beach Army Air Base (Calif.)
Madge Rutherford was born in Greensburg, Indiana and raised in St. Paul, Indiana. She was a 1941 graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Minton earned her pilot’s license through the Advanced Civilian Pilot Training Program; Madge was one of the first four women in the United States to graduate from the Program.
In 1943 she joined the newly organized Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and was trained to ferry Army airplanes to domestic military bases for delivery to combat flight crews.
While serving in World War II, Madge and Naval Officer, Sherman A. Minton, M.D. were married on October 10, 1944 during a five-day leave. After the war, they settled in Indianapolis. With the exception of four years in Pakistan (1958 – 1962), Indianapolis was the family’s home.
After World War II Madge remained passionate about the role of women in aviation. She was a member of The Ninety-Nines, Inc. International Organization of Women Pilots, P-51 Mustang Pilots Association, The Confederate Air Force, and the Indianapolis Aero Club. She served as a regional vice president for the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association. In the 1970’s Madge took an active role in lobbying for and finally achieving recognition and veteran status for all former WASP.
In addition, Madge was a biologist and co-authored several books on herpetology with her husband, Dr. Sherman Minton, who was an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Indiana University Medical School.