Adams County

Darlene Calkins Arnold




Des Moines (AP)—Iowa women who were graduated in this week’s class of women’s air force service pilots (WASPS) at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Tex., included Margaret J. Phelan, Emmetsburg; Dorothea Marie Norris, Indianola; Mrs. Elvin Arnold, Mount Etna; Urcela D. Wald, Runnells; Martha Anne Mace, Washington; and Meridee A. Newell, Woodward.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, July 1, 1944


Eight Iowa girls were included in the graduation class of women's airforce service pilots (WASP) at Avenger field, Sweetwater, Tex., this week.

Beverly Jean Moses, daughter of Alex Moses, 1101 Nineteenth st. was secretary to the general superintendent of the Solar Aircraft Co. before joining the WASP last December.

Marylyn E. Myers, daughter of Mrs. Mary Shields, 945 Eight st, was one of the first women airlines radio operators, and a passenger agent for United Air Lines.

Margaret J. Phelan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Phelan, Emmetsburg, was a draftsman at the Vega Aircraft Corp., Burbank, Cal.

Dorothea Marie Norris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Norris, Indianola, was a typist for the internal revenue department in Des Moines.

Mrs. Elvin (Darlene) Arnold, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Calkins, Mount Etna, is a former school teacher whose husband is in the navy.

Urcela D. Wald, daughter of Mrs. Myrta Wald, Runnells, was employed by the Solar Aircraft Co. in Des Moines.

Martha Anne Mace, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn E. Mace, Washington, was secretary to the manager of the Des Moines Flying Service.

Merridee A. Newell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Newell, Woodward, was a music student at the State University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Source: The Des Moines Register, July 1, 1944

Now A Women’s Airforce Service Pilot

They say it is unlike most folks, especially women, to not want newspaper publicity about their achievements, but Adams County claims as a citizen one talented and charming young woman who has persistently for many months turned “thumbs down” on the home town newspaper publishing any new of her war activities.

That young woman is the former Darlene Calkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Calkins of Lincoln township, now the wife of Yeoman 2-C1 Alvin Arnold. When approached for news on her work in training as a pilot for the WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) her reply has always been “Wait and see how I make out. If I made the grade, then you can have a story.”

Well, last Thursday, June 27, 1944, Darlene “made the grade” and was graduated with honors and received her wings at Avenger Field near Sweetwater, Texas. She was pretty happy about the whole thing. Incidentally, seven other Iowa girls were graduated in the same class with Mrs. Arnold last Friday.

Mrs. Arnold was a successful Adams County school teacher before the war. While attending Junior College at Red Oak, she became interested in civilian flying and began taking flying lessons. Along came the war and the young lady, anxious to do her part, believed she could help the cause by joining the WASP. On December 7, 1943, she began training at Avenger Field, putting in many long and strenuous hours, 30 weeks in all, to win the coveted wings of the Army Air Force.

Mrs. Arnold has been assigned to Laredo Air Field, Laredo, Texas, where she will perform commands to help speed victory. We join with Col. George F. Keens, commanding officer, who addressed the WASP graduates Tuesday when he closed his talk with “Happy Landings.”

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, May 03, 1945, Page 6