Marie Muccie Genaro 
May 1, 1921 – January 11, 2003
Class: 43-W-2
Training Location: Houston Municipal Airport (Tex.)
Assigned Bases: New Castle Army Air Base (Wilmington, Del.), Fairfax Army Air Field (Kansas City, Kan.) and Love Field (Dallas, Tex.)
Planes flown: PT-19, BT-13, AT-6, AT-10, L-4, AT-17, B-25, UC-78

Marie Muccie was born in Trenton, New Jersey on May 1, 1921 of Italian parents. She had 11 siblings and her parents believed that daughters were for marrying. However, as Marie approached adulthood, she developed other ideas. Ideas she had to keep secret.

Her interests in flying started around age 17 when she started building powered model planes and competing with the males. At the age of 19, 1940, she started taking flying lessons. She paid for the lessons while working at a local airport and scrounged for any work to earn more time flying. After the war started, the airport was closed because it was too close to the coast. In spite of that, she entered the WASP program with over 300 hours. The minimum hours for entering class 43-2 were 100. (Male trainees were not required to have any previous flight time.)

Like all the women in the program, Marie received a telegram from Jackie Cochran for an interview. She went to Rockefeller Center to meet Jackie and present her flight log. Once Jackie saw Marie’s 300 hours she said, “We can use you.”

That was easy, now came the hard part. It wasn’t that she was 2 inches too short, it was that she was still a minor by about 6 months. She would need her parents’ consent to join. Marie told Jackie that she would get it.

Jackie wanted to know how quickly she could get to Houston to start training. Marie said she had to get money for the trip first. Jackie needed her now and loaned her $75.00 for train fare.

While stationed in Kansas, Marie met and married Captain Michael Genaro. It was a military style wedding and two other WASPs, Magda Tacke of 43-1, and Helen Porter of 43-5, were her bride’s maids. Marie and Michael met in a B-25 during a delivery from Kansas to Wichita Falls, Texas. Marie retired from the WASP in August, 1944.

Michael and Marie started a family in Dallas and raised three girls and a boy, Laura, Cynthia, Sue and Michael.

Over the years Marie lived in many places including Colorado, Switzerland, and Florida, where she started a nutrition business that she later sold.

In 1977, she got involved in the efforts to get congressional recognition for the WASP as veterans. She circulated petitions at airports and was pleasantly surprised to find that male pilots were eager to sign. At one point, she wrote a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News:

​”Opponents of the bill say we WASPs were not under military discipline. They must be kidding. We received the same training as the male Air Force Cadets. The U. S. Army Air Corps issued orders for all military missions. We flew all the same type military aircraft from small trainers to bombers. Wouldn’t you say we risked our lives in the type of duty to help release male pilots for combat during the pilot shortage. Thirty-eight women were killed flying these missions.

“It’s true some WASPs may not have need for these benefits, but others do. By offering official recognition of our part to help win the war would mean a great deal to us. It would be like the U. S. government saying, ‘Thank you for a job well done.’ We earned it, we deserve it and we did do a good job.”

When Marie started her health store in Florida, she was a nutritional consultant and believed in and practiced a healthy life style. She tried to exercise five days a week with water aerobics, light weight lifting, biking, and treadmill at a local health club.

Marie is survived by her four children and two grandchildren, Mario and Adria.

Most of the information presented here was found in a biography in the B. S. Turner book, “Out of the Blue and Into History”. Additional information was taken from “On Silver Wings” by Marianne Verges and from my own research on WASP training.

Written by C. Andy Hailey, K.O.W (Kid Of a WASP) 

Eulogy for Marie
A Tribute to Marie by WASP Millie Davidson Dalrymple

I’ve known Marie Genaro a long time. We’ve been good friends and shared a lot of camaraderie during WASP trips, and even tennis after I talked her into joining the Courtyard. But I didn’t know Marie Muccie. Marie Genaro  was reserved about her achievements. She was not a braggart. If she had been she could have pulled rank on me any time because Marie Muccie was one of the elite Womens Airforce Service Pilots, who proved to all the skeptics that as General Arnold said “Young women can fly wing-tip-to-wing-tip with their brothers in the sky.” She was in one of the first groups to enter the WASP program as class 43-2. Marie and her classmates performed their ferrying jobs so well that other flying areas were opened up to those of us followed even after the requirements for applying were lowered.

When Marie entered, the program was in its infancy. The first classes were based (at Houston Municipal Airport) in Houston. There were no accommodations, they lived in the Oleander Motel, were bussed to the field and flew a hodgepodge of planes. There were no uniforms and it was so secret they were instructed to tell anyone who asked that they were a girls basketball team.

The Houston weather and fog were constant hazards, the instructors didn’t really want to be teaching girls– but those determined girls endured and flew and flew.

Marie told me about an incident when she was shooting touch-and-go landings. On one pass the BT-13 began vibrating so violently she was thrown against her parachute harness. Then she saw smoke coming out of the engine. She radioed the Tower and told them about the vibration and smoke and she was coming in for an emergency landing. She was told not to land but to climb another 1000 feet and bail out. Reluctantly she pulled back on the stick and gained altitude, but when she looked out into the darkness below, she decided, she’d rather take her chances on landing. So she radioed in and said “Clear the field, I’m landing.” The tower operator gave her the OK but told her to get out and run as soon as she did because the plane might explode. Fortunately it didn’t but the mechanic who checked the engine told her there was only one bolt holding the engine to the plane. Then her instructor said she had to get into another plane and go back up. It was a rule.

When Jackie Cochran finally got permission to move the school to Avenger Field, Marie’s class had already finished their training, so they flew the planes to their new base in Sweetwater, Texas. There they got their wings on May 28, 1943, as the first class to graduate from Avenger.

Marie was sent to New Castle Air Base, Wilmington, Delaware and assigned to the Ferry Command. The pilots flew commercial airlines to the factory where they “bought” the plane then flew it to the base where it was assigned. There they “sold” it to the Army, and returned to New Castle. If a girl got back before midnight, she went out again the next morning.

Usually several girls went to the same factory and Marie was a Flight Leader for the formation to the base. This meant that she filed the flight plan and took care of all the details. They frequently had to RON and were unable to find rooms on the base so sleeping arrangements were a real problem. Sometimes it was on the floor in the Ready Room at the base.

From Wilmington, she was transferred to Fairfax Field in Kansas City, and subsequently to Love Field in Dallas. She flew all the basic and advanced trainers, logged many hours in B-25 twin-engine bombers and pursuit planes. Each of these planes had been tested only once before the WASP picked it up and often problems developed enroute. 38 WASPs died in action and many of them were in the Ferry command.

It was a very brief part of Marie’s long life, but one she cherished.

I am proud to have been her friend—— in spite of the fact that petite Marie could still wear her original WASP uniform.

Sources:
Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, WASP Collection
WWII Women Pilots

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