Mariana Drăgescu – Romanian Female Pilot
Born on 7th of September 1912 in Craiova, Marie Ana Aurelia or Mariana Drăgescu attends the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, and then the 4 Roşiori Regiment Riding School. In 1932, she came in Bucharest, and in 1935 she started to attend Băneasa Flight School of the former aviator Mircea (Miky) Cantacuzino. Trained by the famous captain Constantin Abelas, Mariana was the 7th Romanian female who obtained a pilot licence.
In 1938, Mariana was invited to join a new, all-female aviation team which would become the White Squadron in June 1940. There were other 4 women involved: Virginia Duţescu, Nadia Russo, Mariana Ştirbey and Irina Burnaia.
The White Squadron saved and ease the pain of thousands of people. Sleeping on stretchers and eating food with “metal taste”, Mariana had the courage to fly on both war fronts and saved the lives of more than 1,500 injured people. Until 1944, the Romanian aviator was decorated with 3 orders, and journalists wrote about her exploits in the newspapers as ‘Hamburger Illustrierte’, ‘Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung’, ‘România Aeriană’ or ‘Tempo’. Mariana Drăgescu was transferred to civil aviation and became a station monitor of Chitila Aviation School. She was also flight instructor at Grimbav-Braşov Aviation School. She flew until 1955, when Communists took her service record and forced her to become typist at Ana Ipătescu C.F.R. Polyclinic in Bucharest.
On 7th of September 2012, to commemorate her 100 years, Mariana is appointed retired commander by the Minister of the National Defence and decorated with the Romanian Army Honor emblem. She died on 24th of March 2013, in Bucharest. For more information on the emblems of the Romanian Aviation, you can visit the National Museum of Romanian Aviation, located on 2-4 Fabrica de Glucoză Street, Bucharest.
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