Hazel Ying Lee

Year Inducted: 

Hazel Ying Lee took her first flight in 1932, at the age of 19, becoming one of the first Chinese-American women to earn a pilot’s certificate. Following the Japanese attack on China, Hazel journeyed to China and volunteered to serve in the Chinese Air Force. Rejected because she was a woman, she settled in Canton and took a job in commercial aviation. Fleeing before the Japanese advance to China, Hazel returned to the United States in 1938.

Responding to the call of Jacqueline Cochran, Hazel joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in 1943. In 1944, she became part of Class 44-18 Flight B, flying P-63s, P-51s (her favorite) and P-39s. She was killed in a P-63 accident on November 25, 1944. Hazel was the first Chinese-American woman to fly for the United States military and the first Chinese-American woman to die in service to her country.


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