Who was the first woman pilot in US history to fly combat missions?
Marie Therese Rossi-Cayton (born January 3, 1959 – died March 1, 1991) was the first woman in American military history to serve in combat as an aviation unit commander during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. She was also the first woman pilot in United States history to fly combat missions. During Operation Desert Storm, Major Marie T. Rossi died at age 32 on March 1, 1991, when the Chinook helicopter she was piloting crashed near her base in northern Saudia Arabia. The unit she commanded was among the very first American units to cross into enemy held territory flying fuel and ammunition to the rapidly advancing 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. Major Rossi is buried in Arlington Cemetery where her simple epitaph there reads "First Female Combat Commander To Fly into Battle."