|Birth: ||Jan. 14, 1920|
|Death: ||Apr. 3, 2013|
"If I had my ‘druthers,' I'd rather be in an airplane, but sailing is very close to it. I like to say that I traded my wings for sails."
-- Florine Phillips Maloney
Florine was born the second of three children. She described her childhood as a happy one, raised by a single mother, and surrounded by an extended family of cousins. During high school, Florine became interested in journalism, working on the school paper and her high school yearbook. Following graduation, she entered the University of Chicago, but soon transferred to a business college. She became a steno/typist and worked for American Airlines as a reservation agent on the midnight-to-eight AM shift.
Her brother, a pilot-in-training with the Army Air Force, encouraged her to take flying lessons at a small airport near her home. Eventually, American Airlines transferred her to Love Field, Dallas, Texas, and it was there that she heard the word "WASP" for the first time.
She immediately applied to enter the flight training program required to become a WASP and was accepted. She arrived at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas on November 1, 1943 with 103 other hopeful young women pilots. She was granted 48 hours leave two months into her training to marry Lt. Robert Mancib back at Love Field. After seven months of Army Air Force flight training, she and 51 of her classmates graduated on May 23, 1944. She received her silver wings. She was a WASP. Her mother, brother, and sister watched proudly during the graduation ceremony as she marched in review as a member of class 44-W-9.
Florine's Army orders sent her to Love Field, Dallas, Texas, where she was assigned to fly with the Fifth Ferrying Group. She flew AT-6's from the factory to points of embarkation and training bases. Then, she transferred to Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, where she flew AT-10's as an administrative pilot. Her most vivid memory was of flying a Norden Norseman, fitted out as a hospital transport, to San Antonio with a soldier in traction attended by nurses and doctors.
Florine divorced and, after the WASP were deactivated, joined her sister, applying to the American Red Cross for duty overseas. The two sisters spent two years in Naples, Italy, running the American Red Cross Club Division.
She returned to the States, met, and married Tom Carley. Florine later remembered, "We had a lot in common. He had an airplane and I had wings." Tom and Florine had two children.
Soon after their tenth anniversary, Tom passed away. She raised their two children and finished the house she and Tom had started.
She married Howard Skaff and became a stepmother to his two children. Following Howard's death, Florine became an excellent sailor, journeying to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Tahiti, and Guatemala.
She married another sailor, Mac Maloney, who was a retired Marine Colonel and successful author. She spent many happy hours copy-editing his book, *Chapman's Piloting*, a bible for small boaters. She also maintained her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and held a Ham Radio license.
The last few years found Florine and Mac living near the water and enjoying trips on their 38-foot trawler, *Leeway*. In 2010, the US Congress awarded the WASP, including Florine, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by that body.
She always remained positive despite life's many challenges. "I guess I've always known that God was gonna take care of me...and He has! When I think of some of the scrapes I've gotten through, it's a miracle!" By Nancy Parrish.
Created by: PerseidsGirl
Record added: Jun 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 111894633
Thank you for your inspirational, courageous service, Florine. Fly high, sail far.|
Added: Jun. 6, 2013