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Cornelia Fort was an unlikely candidate to be the first American woman to die on active military duty. Born into a wealthy family in Nashville, the oldest of five children. A debutante. Sarah Lawrence graduate. Member of the Junior League of Nashville. Destined for a quiet life.
But Cornelia Fort wanted to fly, and fly she did. She took her first flying lesson in 1940, shortly after her father died. She soon became first female flight instructor in Nashville.