because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tamara Pamiatnykh

During World War II, fighter pilots Tamara Pamiatnykh and Raisa Surnachevskaia were hanging around the barracks when they got the word that there were two enemy aircraft in the area. Jumping into their planes and taking off for the wild blue yonder, they got up there only to discover that there were not two, but forty-two German bombers on their way to destroy a Soviet railway junction where crucial troops and supplies had been gathered. The women contacted their superiors, asking for orders, and were told (by people on the ground and far away, of course) to attack. So they did.

Plowing right into the middle of them all, Pamiatnykh (third from the left on the bottom row above) and Surnachevskaia (last one on the right in the third row down above) routed the bombers, forcing them to drop their bombs early and not on their original target. And while they were at it, the women shot down two bombers each just for good measure. Then they flew back to the barracks and continued their afternoon.

When the King of England heard about the feat, he sent the two in-your-face pilots inscribed gold watches. The Soviets, on the other hand, didn't officially recognize their act of bravery at all and after the war, Pamiatnykh's husband (also a military pilot) made her leave the cockpit behind. Sometimes in-your-face women can't win for losing, but that must have been some conversation!

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