MEMBER SPOTLIGHT GLORIA MARIE LINFANTE-MAKOWSKI

Gloria Marie Linfante-Makowski, was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1931. “I had an older sister and brother, who was a P-51 Fighter-Pilot. I was greatly impressed with women in military uniforms and decided that’s what I wanted to do.” “While fi nishing school I worked in an offi ce in NYC. After graduation in 1949, I worked for Prudential in Union City, NJ, but I knew what I really wanted to do and one day there was an AF recruiter in the lobby”.

“I needed a parent’s signature on the application. My Dad considered the educational benefits and signed for me. My Mother was hysterical, cried and begged me not to go. How could a nice Italian girl leave her family to join “those women!” I survived Basic Training and went to Ft. Snelling AFB, MN with 10 other WAF. We were the first WAF’s at the Base”.

“I was a secretary to the Base Adjutant. One day I was told to report to the CO promptly. I was shocked to see Ella Raines, a movie star in the 40s-50s. Her husband was Gen. Robin Olds. She was recruiting women for Officer Candidate School. I received my gold bars in Sept. 1953, Class 53C.”

“I married Henry Makowski, a B-47 pilot in 1956. I resigned in June 1957 to remain with my husband. We spent our remaining service years at various Bases including 4 years in Japan. Henry retired in 1974 and we came to Satellite Beach. I worked at SB Police Station, a Realty Office and then began working at Patrick AFB.”

“In my PAFB job, I occasionally sailed missions in the Bering Sea during the “Cold War.” I had the opportunity to see AF friends in Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Virginia, etc. thanks to my job.“

“After retiring in 1996 I joined the Retired Officers Association and scheduled members to speak at various local organizations. For 15 years, I volunteered in concessions at the King Center.”

“I enjoyed several trips to Europe, including my parent’s homeland in Sicily. On one trip, 20 years ago, I lost my group. The bus was leaving! Where was it? I asked a vendor. He no “spica da enlish”. “I do”, said a man buying a paper and he pointed where the bus had dropped off the group. I started running! I hear a put-put-put sound. The handsome Italian man came to my rescue. “Hop on—I take you.” Bada Bing, Ba-da boom – I hopped on and we rode around and around — no bus. He had to go to work. I hopped off and began walking, suddenly the tour guide popped out. I asked her “didn’t she see me go by a couple of times”? “I wasn’t looking for you on a scooter!” Years later, while in
Egypt, I asked my friend to take a photo of me atop a camel sitting on the ground. The camel suddenly arose and took off racing by the pyramids with me yelling and my
friend yelling behind me!”

“I’ve had many flights in military planes, on orders or just catching a “hop” on leave to desired destinations, provided a parachute was available for me. A parachute was required but I never used one. Well – life has become a bit dull. So, on my 80th birthday, I did a tandem sky dive and repeated it on my 85th. It was sensational!”

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