Valérie André, the Woman Who Came from the Sky

In the early 1950s, French soldiers fighting the Viet Minh in French Indochina called in a battlefield casualty. The military sent in a helicopter, an insect-like contraption the soldiers had never seen before. When it landed, they saw the pilot was a woman! It was just another chapter in the amazing life of Valérie André.

André had two passions from a young age. She wanted to fly, and she wanted to become a doctor. She learned to pilot an airplane, although she had to pay for her lessons, unlike boys. Her education was interrupted by World War II, but when she got her medical degree in 1947, she joined the military and spent five years doing surgery in Indochina before becoming a helicopter rescue pilot. In the meantime, she volunteered to parachute into dangerous territory to bring medical help to both soldiers and locals. That’s how she got the nickname “the woman who came from the sky.”

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André flew 127 rescue missions in Vietnam, then moved on to serve in Algeria. She was the first woman to achieve the rank of brigadier general in the French Army before she retired. And this spring, she turned 102 years old! Read about the amazing medical and aviation career of Valérie André at Military History. -via Strange Company

Source: neatorama

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