JUNE 28, 2017

LAKOTA OLA MIDRED REXROAT DIED—NATIVE AMERICAN WWII WASP PILOT

Born August 28, 1917, in Ogden, Kansas, Millie grew up partly on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.  Graduating from the St. Mary’s Episcopal Indian School in 1932, Rexroat entered but left a teacher’s college to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for a year.  On scholarship, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from University of New Mexico in 1938.  Working again at BIA, she took post-graduate engineering courses and was helping build airfields when she chose to join the U.S. Army WASPS.  Nicknamed “Sexy Rexy,” she had the job of towing targets for aerial gunnery students.  She transported cargo and personnel as well.  After the WASPS, she served for 10 years with the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller (ATC).  As a civilian, she was an ATC at Santa Fe Municipal Airport until retiring in 1973.  Millie served 2 terms as President, North American Indian Women’s Association and, in 2007, was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame.  She died in Hot Springs, South Dakota. 

Sources:  Steve Long, "WWII WASP with Pine Ridge roots: "A Long the Way," www.blackhillsfox.com.  Retrieved 5/20/2020,  https://www.blackhillsfox.com/home/headlines/WWII-WASP-with-Pine-Ridge-roots--A-Long-the-Way-370746721.html
 "Ola Mildred (Millie) Rexroat-McDonald," Lakota Country Times, 7/6/2017.  Retrieved 5/20/2020, https://www.lakotatimes.com/articles/ola-mildred-millie-rexroat-mcdonald/
Photo:  U.S. Army, between 1941-1960.  Public Domain.

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