Kathleen Nova Kelly Titland

Class of 1941

Kathleen Nova Kelly Titland

Native New Mexican Kathleen Nova Kelly Titland was a pioneer, heroine and role model. As part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), Titland was one of the first women in history trained to fly American military aircraft.

Born in Duran, N.M., and raised in Tucumcari, N.M., she graduated from New Mexico State University in 1941 with a degree in education. After graduation, she “courageously answered [her] country’s call in a time of need” and paid her way to the neighboring state of Texas. There, in 1943, she graduated as a member of the WASP class 43-4, the largest class ever to graduate.

She was stationed at Avenger Field, then Love Field, both in Texas, and then Camp Davis in N.C., where she towed targets for ground to air artillery training. She continued flying as a WASP and flew various airplanes during World War II.

After her service and earning her master’s degree, she enjoyed a 25-year teaching career in Cut Bank, Mont. Following her retirement, she volunteered at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and the Kalispell Dialysis Center for many years. She was married to Robert John Titland, and enjoyed traveling, painting, hiking, photography and, of course, flying.

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