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Jackie Cochran Stamp
On March 9, 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 50-cent stamp commemorating Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound. The stamp depicts Cochran after winning the 1938 Bendix Trophy air race from Los Angeles to Cleveland in just over 8 hours. First day of issue ceremonies were held at Indian Palms Resort, former site of Cochran's ranch, in Indio, California. The stamp's 50-cent denomination met the rate then in effect for international post cards mailed from the U.S.
Little is known about Cochran's life. She was born in Florida sometime between 1905 and 1910. Orphaned at an early age, she moved to Georgia, where she lived in poverty with a foster family. Despite only getting to attend public schools for two years, Cochran was determined to better herself. She began working as a beautician, and in time she bought a beauty shop in Florida. Led by her ambitions, Cochran moved to New York, where she became a hair stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue. Before long, she owned her own prestigious salon and married a New York millionaire.
In 1932, Cochran's husband suggested that she learn to fly as a way of using her time more efficiently. In less than three weeks from her first lesson, she had her pilot's license. Two years later, Cochran formed a highly successful cosmetics company, though aviation by now had become her first love. During the Second World War, Cochran founded and headed the Women's Air Force Service program -- a distinction for which she was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1945. Test pilot Chuck Yeager took a personal interest in Cochran, and under his guidance she flew an F-86 Sabre jet in California, at an average speed of 652.337 miles per hour -- becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier. Continuing her business interests, Cochran was named Associated Press Woman of the Year in Business in 1963. In 1969, the U.S. Air Force awarded her its Distinguished Flying Cross. At the time of her death in 1980, Cochran held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any pilot, male or female, in the world.
Although she only spent her early years in Georgia, Jackie Cochran has been recognized for her pioneering role by induction into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.
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