PEACHTREE CITY, GA, March 8, 2023 – Redwood Educational Technologies will offer a special screening of their new 45-minute documentary – Courage in the Clouds: Cornelia Fort and the First Female Pilots of WWII – at Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia, 1200 Echo Ct., Peachtree City, at 10 a.m. Friday, March 24, 2023. Judith Stanford Miller, documentary writer and producer, will be accompanied by Leontine Fort Linton LaPointe, Cornelia’s niece. Judith has worked closely with Leontine and other Fort family members for more than a year as she researched Cornelia’s life for the documentary.
Cornelia Fort (1919-1943) was the second woman pilot accepted into the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) in 1942 when the U.S. Army Air Forces reached out to experienced female pilots to perform ferrying duties within the United States. Cornelia was also the first woman military pilot to die in service to her country on March 21, 1943.
Before the outbreak of WWII, Cornelia was an instructor within the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), first at Fort Collins, Colo., and then in Honolulu Hawaii. Cornelia was in the air early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 and was one of the first, if not the first, civilian pilot to realize Pearl Harbor was under attack. With civilian aviation grounded, Cornelia returned to her home in Nashville where she joined the Civil Air Patrol and continued teaching.
After joining the WAFS in September 1942, she primarily ferried Piper Cub airplanes from the factory in Lock Haven, Penn. and PT-19 airplanes from the Fairchild factory in Hagerstown, Md. On New Year’s Day 1943, she spent the night in Atlanta as she ferried a PT-19 to Vernon, Texas. One year before, Cornelia ferried a Piper Cub to Tuskegee Air Field where the Tuskegee Airmen were training.
Following the documentary screening and discussion, guests will be able to tour the Airbase Georgia hangar from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., where volunteers are restoring a PT-19 that was delivered to Tuskegee in November 1943. This historic airplane was likely ferried by a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). In August 1943, the WAFS came under the umbrella of the WASP.
A packet of educational materials aligned to the documentary will be available on a one-time basis after the screening. Authentic WWII artifacts also will be on display through a WWII trunk Judith has developed. With limited seating, guests must register to attend the free screening/tour and tickets will be on a first-come, first served basis. To register, click HERE.
“We are incredibly excited for Airbase Georgia to be the site of one of our first screenings,” Miller said. “With a shared passion for WWII aviation history, we look forward to engaging students of all ages in the amazing story of Cornelia’s life, a life filled with courage in the air and on the ground.”
For more than 15 years, Redwood Educational Technologies (RET) has produced original content to keep history alive through primary sources and historic research. With a goal to engage students to more deeply read about and study American history, RET has recently launched its new learning platform – Redwood Learn at www.redwoodlearn.com.
About the CAF Airbase Georgia Warbird Museum
CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Airbase is one of the largest units of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The group maintains and flies six vintage military aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair, an SBD Dauntless, and a P-63A Kingcobra. The Airbase, which is composed of more than 500 members, has hosted WWII Heritage Days since 2003. The organization is also a founding partner of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail, launched in 2021. The Airbase is part of the CAF, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to conduct its mission. For more information, go to https://airbasegeorgia.org/.