An action spectacle built around true story of female warriors in the Middle East
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Beirut massacre of civilians and the first female fighter pilot to fly a jetliner over the enemy: British pilot Jacqueline Taylor aboard a British plane. Taylor, who had her pilot’s license before she was born, became the most visible woman fighter pilot in the world to fly a military aircraft during the Gulf War. She flew over Iraq for 22 hours, dropped bombs on Iraqi tanks, and took down an Iraqi jet fighter. In 2005, she flew over the city of Kuwait, which she described in her autobiography, My Story, as looking like “a huge explosion going off. You’d think you were on a ship.”
Taylor’s story and her heroic actions have been widely reported. But she was only the seventh woman fighter pilot in history and the first British woman fighter pilot to fly over Iraqi air space on an aircraft other than a plane or helicopter. The world has not heard much about the other six. They were not fighter pilots but had combat experience in land, sea and air forces, as well as in other roles, in their roles in the Israeli and British armed forces, and in the armies of other nations.
In this article, I provide a brief biography of the six: the first three women fighter pilots were all British, and one was Israeli and one American; three were killed in the Gulf War, and one killed in action on behalf of the United States in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. The final women fighter pilot was Canadian. Two of the six women fought in the Gulf War, two in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, and one in South East Asia.
What follows is a biography of Jacqueline Taylor. I focus on her life and her extraordinary record of service in the British armed forces, the armed forces of Canada, and the United States. In addition, I discuss the significance of Taylor’s life and the events that shaped it with some other women who had their own stories to tell.
A life lived for others
Jacqueline Taylor was a true Briton, born in London. Her mother was British, her father North African. Jacqueline was the second child of two