Mimi Carrere, one of the first women to fly a U.S. military plane, died on Dec. 17 of natural causes. She was 86.
Known at the time as Mary Clare “Mimi” Platter, Carrere learned how to fly when she was a teenager. Her father bought her a Piper Cub, which she used to check on his cotton crops and to visit her mother. She graduated from H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in Louisiana in 1943.
During World War II, Carrere enlisted in the Army Air Corp. Out of more than 25,000 applicants, she was one of only 1,074 who became Women Airforce Service Pilots. As a WASP, she flew B-17 and B-26 bombers in training missions. One of these missions helped prepare a group of glider pilots for the Battle of Normandy.
When the war ended, Carrere married, raised seven children and worked at the Parks-Chambers men’s clothing store in Atlanta. WASPs were accorded veteran status by Congress in 1977.