Jacqueline Cochran (1906 - 1980), was an American pilot who held more speed, distance, and altitude records than any other flyer during her career. In 1964, she flew an aircraft faster than any woman had before. In
July of 1943, Cochran was named director of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), which supplied more than a thousand auxiliary pilots for the armed forces.
In 1945, she became the first woman civilian to be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and in 1948 was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve. In 1953, eager to make the transition to jet aircraft, Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier, piloting an F-86 Sabre, and that same year, set world speed records for 15-, 100-, and 500-km courses.
Cochran went on to set an altitude mark of 55,253 feet in 1961, and in 1964 she set the standing women's world speed record of 1,429 miles per hour in an F-104G Super Star jet. In 1969 she was promoted to colonel in the Reserve, from which she retired in 1970. She continued as a special National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) consultant after her retirement.
From 1959 through 1963, Cochran was the first woman president of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. She was also a member of many other aviation and service-connected organizations.
Cochran was inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame in 1965 and the U.S. Aviation Hall of Fame in 1971. Although not born there, she lived in the Village of Bagdad and attended Bagdad Grammar School during her childhood, later moving to Georgia.
Cochran's autobiographical book, The Stars At Noon, written in 1954, recount her early years in Bagdad, Florida with fond memories.