Commentary: Wally Funk’s Lifelong Journey to the Stars

Plane flying in the sky

Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk always wanted to fly.  She had her first flying lesson when she was nine years old and grew up making wooden planes, building treehouses, riding horses, biking, hunting, and fishing.  As a young girl growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, Wally recalls, “I did everything that people didn’t expect a girl to do.”   

Wally’s curiosity and love of flying, however, would ultimately shape the rest of her life.  She obtained her flying license at Stephens College when she was in her teens, then joined the “Flying Aggies” aviation team at Oklahoma State University, where she earned a degree in education.  Wally then got her first job at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where she was the only female flight instructor.

At the height of the Space Race, in 1961, when she was just 22 years old, Wally became infatuated with the idea of taking her passion for flying to the next level, as an astronaut in space.  

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Commentary: Remembering D-Day

D day

This Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of the greatest gamble in World War II.

On June 6, 1944, more than 156,000 allied forces launched from the sea onto the beaches of Normandy.  Nearly 7,000 allied ships commanded the French coastline, and more than 3,200 aircraft dominated the skies.  A few miles inland, 23,000 paratroopers landed to block German reinforcements from the shore.

After years of preparation, practice, and training, the Allies had come to break German power in Europe.

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