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President Harry Truman and Mrs. Alice Rogers Hager
Alice Rogers Hager was a national and international award winning aviation journalist and enthusiast. Her journalism career began in 1929 when she began traveling extensively by air to cover aviation news for the Los Angeles Herald, New York Times, Washington Star, North American Newspaper Alliance and Skyways Magazine.
In the press, Mrs. Hager frequently addressed the increase in women air passengers and benefits of aviation as a career for women.
Practicing what she wrote, Mrs. Hager encouraged her daughters, Carolyn and Helen, to pursue aviation and brought them to Beacon Field in the late 1930’s to learn to fly.
Carolyn quickly became a pilot and commuted from Beacon Field to college at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan) in her Aeronca (note i). She returned often with friends for holiday breaks and special events and eventually became a CAA instructor at Beacon. Carolyn later married a US Navy pilot, Gregory Faith. Helen married Franklin Reid of Beacon Field who was an Eastern Airlines DC-3 pilot.
Mrs. Hager had the unique distinction of being the mother of a pilot, mother-in-law of pilots, wife of pilot, and grandmother of US Air Force Academy pilot.
Mrs. Hager's driven determination and enthusiasm to promote aviation catapulted her to the top of the journalism field. On many occasions the White House invited her to State dinners and various functions. Internationally respected for her aviation knowledge as well, the Brazilian Government honored her with the Order of Merit of Santos Dumont and the Southern Cross.
Carol and Helen -- Courtesy Hager Family Collection
Courtesy Hager Family Collection
Alice Rogers Hager’s career included a two year tour as the Chief Public Information Officer for the Civil Aeronautics Board. In 1944, as a Skyways Magazine war correspondent reporting from the Pacific theater, Mrs. Hager became the first woman reporter to fly in a Superfortress in a combat zone (note ii) . She was embedded with the Fourteenth Air Force in Kunming, China. Her reporting assignments took her though out China, Burma, and India (note iii). Upon completion of her tour, she wrote Wings for the Dragon: The Air War in Asia in which she described missions of the Flying Tigers.
Hager Family Collection
For her war reporting, Mrs. Hager was awarded the War Department’s Certificate of Merit, the CBI Theater Ribbon, and the Avon Gold Medal for War Correspondence (note iv). She is wearing the medal in the photo above with Harry Truman. Additionally, she became President of the Women’s National Press Club .
From the Hager Family Collection
She had flown more than 500,000 miles on career assignments to all continents except Antarctica. Despite the risks of early air travel like the destruction of the Hindenberg, she eagerly accepted adventures such as the Pan-American Airways’ preview press flight across the Atlantic (note v). In 1938, Mrs. Hager completed an eight day 26,000 mile air tour of the United States and Cuba during National Air Travel Week honoring the 10th anniversary of multi-engined passenger airplanes (note vi) .
She was a prolific writer of teenager non-fiction/fiction books, an Attache for the American Embassy in Brussels, and a Chief for the United States Information Agency (USIA) in Western Europe.
Mrs. Hager is interred at Mount Comfort Cemetery adjacent to the Beacon Field Airport land tract.