Historical Veteran: Dowd, Marguerite & Graham, Nancy

Presenter Information

Marguerite Dowd
Nancy Graham


The Women Who Taught the Military to Fly

At the beginning of WWII, the U.S. Army Air Corps contracted with Embry-Riddle and other private aviation schools to train cadets to fly. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) also contracted with Embry-Riddle to teach their pilots to fly. Operating from several airfields in south Florida, including Carlstrom in Arcadia, Riddle Field in Clewiston, and the Seaplane Base in Miami, Embry-Riddle flight instructors trained many of the British and American pilots who served in WWII.

The training at the Miami Seaplane Base was distinctive. In 1940, Helen Cavis was hired as the first female flight instructor. By 1942, the Seaplane Base was an all-woman operation. Pictured here, from a photo in the ERAU University Archives, are Nancy Graham (left) and Judith (Marguerite) Dowd (right) in 1944. Both flight instructors taught naval cadets to fly.



Historical Veteran: Dowd, Marguerite & Graham, Nancy