Betty Greene

Betty Greene developed a love for flying early. Her oldest brother had his pilot's license when she was young and when she was eight she saw Charles Lindbergh return from one of his flights. Her parents didn't approve of her passion at first and her mother convinced her to go into nursing when Betty was seventeen, since nursing was more lady like. But Betty ended up dropping out of nursing school and in the same year World War II began.
After she quit the nursing school, Betty felt like she wasn't doing much. She helped out her father, but she didn't want to spend the rest of her life answering letters.

Then an old friend of the family, Mrs. Bowman, suggested that Betty combine her love of flying with missionary work. Betty loved the idea, but wondered if that was what God wanted her to do.  Meanwhile, she took a pilot's course offered by the University of Washington. By this time her parents realized that Betty couldn't help but fly planes and supported her decision.

In June, 1942, Betty decided to join Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). WFTD was formed by Jacqueline Cochran and General Arnold. The program trained women to serve in the military by ferrying planes and taking over other flying tasks so male pilots could concentrate on combat. Betty arrived in Houston, Texas, in March, 1943 to begin her training. The program included flying practice and instruction, an obstacle course, marching, as well as studying math, physics, meteorology, aerodynamics, electronics, navigation, air regulations, and engine operation and maintenance. The women collapsed in bed exhausted at ten p.m. every night and got up at six in the morning. The women were technically not part of the military; they were volunteers and could leave whenever they wanted to. But Betty stuck to it and graduated in September. She was now apart of Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. During her training she wrote an article talking about her dream to fly and do missionary work, which was published by a magazine.

A week later Betty arrived at Camp Davis in North Carolina. After working there for some time, she was reassigned to Wright Field in Ohio. During her time there, she received a letter from three men saying that others shared her dream of flying and missionary work. In fact three men were planning an organization, dubbed Christian Airmen's Missionary Fellowship, that would support missionaries via aviation.

Betty was excited; this was exactly what she wanted to do after the war. She met with one of men, Jim Truxton, in Washington D.C. while she was on an assignment. She agreed to become part of the group, but she wanted to continue her work with WASP. Then the news came: WASP was being disbanded. The Army Air Force would be taking care of what WASP was doing currently and since women weren't allowed in the military, Betty was discharged in October 1944.

Now that her volunteer work was ended, she helped Christian Airmen's Missionary Fellowship (CAMF) get started. After sending out brochures, speaking at conferences, and meeting with Cameron Townsend (a missionary to Mexico), Betty became the first CAMF pilot to fly on a mission. She took off February 23, 1946 for El Real, Mexico. The missionaries there were excited over the mail and supplies she brought. In Betty's first month she logged over one hundred hours of flying. By now CAMF had a new name: Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).

For the next sixteen years Betty served as a MAF pilot. She carried people to hospitals, delivered supplies, flew missionaries to different places, and became the first woman to fly over the Andes. She served in Mexico, Peru, Sudan, Liberia, Nigeria, and Irian Jaya, among other countries. She met a sultan in Nigeria and impressed the Sudanese government so much they allowed her to fly in Sudan. She also ate with six Sudanese government officials, something unheard of, since Sudan was under Islamic government. In 1962 she started to work at MAF headquarters and encouraged many people to join MAF. In 1990 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her family stuck by her until her death in 1997.

Today MAF continues on. Each year they serve around 400 churches and humanitarian organizations around the world, as well as mission agencies. MAF-US works with sister organizations to meet the needs of people in 34 countries. They have 120 airplanes, mostly Cessnas, and they are in the USA, UK, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and India, among many other countries.

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