Elizabeth MacKethan Magid
Women Air Force Service Pilot, United States Air Force
She wrote "Celestial Flight" in memory of her best friend and fellow pilot Marie Michell Robinson, who was killed in the crash of a B-25.
Elizabeth Magid, also known as "Kit," was among 1,074 women who became pilots in the short-lived program Women Airforce Service Pilots. She was assigned to ferry planes, some that were damaged.
Her son said one of her favorite memories was the time she and a WASP classmate ferried two planes that were going to be used for parts.
"We were flying side-by-side, and nuts and
bolts were literally popping off and flying by. All we did was hold our
thumbs up and say, 'We're still here!' As long as she was giving me that
sign, we knew we were OK," she told her son.
After graduation from flight school in 1944, Elizabeth and Marie were stationed together as ferry pilots with the Air Transport Command, Love Field, Dallas, Texas. Later Elizabeth was sent to Cochran Field, Georgia, where she flew overhauled basic and advanced trainers. Marie was sent to Victorville Air Force Base, California, where she flew twin-engine bombers. In October, 1944, Marie was killed in the crash of a B-25. She was nineteen years of age.
While waiting for transportation to Michigan for a Memorial Service for Marie, Elizabeth completed her test flying duties for the day. As she soared upward amidst the soft fair weather cumulus clouds, she fantasized that her friend was there. She recalled the happy days training when she, Marie and sky were one -- on playful silver wings. But Marie was not there. Elizabeth landed and in a secluded spot in the Operations Room she penned "Celestial Flight" in words that seemed to come from a Source other than herself.
As soon as possible Elizabeth caught military flights to Michigan and shared the words of the poem with Marie's mother, thus fulfilling the promise exchanged many months before at a dusty, windswept training field in Texas.
She is not dead -
There is no
For she is
a pilot's Fate
So all you
loved ones, dry your eyes,
The urn containing the ashes of veteran Women Airforce Service Pilot Elizabeth
Magid, is carried by Airman First Class Keith Robinson during a funeral ceremony at
Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, May 26, 2004. Magid, whose poem 'Celestial Flight'
became a fixture at funerals for female pilots, died March 23, 2004, of cancer at age 86.
Elizabeth Magid flew planes for the U.S. military during World War II
Posted: 31 May 2004 Updated: 18 December 2005 Updated: 3 January 2009