Borger Woman Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Now we highlight a local women who stood where no other woman before her had... NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos spent the afternoon with Florene Watson, who helped pave the way for women in the military.

88-year-old Florene Watson lives in Borger now, but sixty years ago, she became one of the first women pilots in the US Air Force. She and thirty nine others are being awarded Congressional Gold Medals for their service to our country.

Florene knew she wanted to fly before she could even drive... Her father bought a family plane and told her and her brothers they should learn to fly so they can contribute to World War Two, should the United States become involved.... And when that happened, she was the first to climb in the cockpit.

And today, she urges every young American do become involved as well. "Everyone should play a part while they can. I think about those people over there now dong their part and dying for my freedom, and realize that we all have a part to play. If you have the opportunity to do it, then that's good. I had the opportunity and took it."

Florene says flying those planes was the easy part... Dealing with the criticism was a bit harder. "A girl flying an airplane? People would say good lord. There's a woman at the airport. What on earth is her mother letting her do that for?"

But she didn't let that stop her... She went on to be one of the most valuable pilots in the Air Force. And she didn't let her time flying with the boys stop her from being a lady. "I'd get the right kind of screw driver and I'd climb out there on the wing, especially on those B52s that I was flying and I would take off the screws to the ammunition compartment and I could fit a pair of high heels in there."

Naturally, Florene had a dress to match those high heels... She tells us she kept that in the other ammunition compartment.