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Ann Griffin Gleszer was born to Frank and Catherine Golick of Columbia, Connecticut onÂ June 21, 1916.Â She graduated fromÂ the University of Connecticut with a Masterâ€™s Degree in Education. WhileÂ attending college, she also took flying lessons and got her privateÂ pilotâ€™s license, eventually becoming an air traffic controller at Rentschler Field in EastÂ Hartford.
When America entered World War II and the call went out for women pilots, Ann applied to the Army Air Forces women's training programÂ at Avenger Field, Texas, and was accepted into class 44-9.Â After successfully completing seven months of flight training,Â she graduated, received her WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) wings, and was stationed at Robbins Army Air Field in Macon, Georgia as an engineering test pilot in BT-13's and AT-6's.Â Serving her country as a WASPÂ influenced Ann for the rest of her life.
After the WASP were deactivated, Ann became a flight instructor and kept a plane atÂ Simsbury airport.Â Later, as a test pilot for aeronautical engineer,Â businessman and inventor Charles Kaman in Bloomfield, she was featuredÂ flying a Kaman Aircraft K-125 helicopter in the November 15, 1948 issueÂ of â€śLifeâ€ť magazine.
Ann married Thomas Griffin (now deceased) and lived in Switzerland withÂ their two sons, during which time she developed life-long friendshipsÂ and became fluent in French. She began teaching French at Simsbury HighÂ School in the early 1960s and arranged many winter ski trips forÂ students to Okemo Mountain.Â
In March, 2010, together withÂ her WASP peers, Ann received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor the Congress of the United States can bestow on a civilian, honoring their service as WASP, the first women in history to fly American military aircraft.Â She also received the Connecticut Veteranâ€™s Wartime Service MedalÂ from the Dept. of Veteransâ€™ Affairs.
Ann was a member of the MethodistÂ Church of Bethel and a life-long member of Eastern Star.