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Everybody knows Amelia Earhart.
Ironically, nobody knows Lilia Litvyak.
Until Now.

In 1939, at the age of 19, Lt. Lilia Litvyak did the unimaginable in the male-dominated.
She became the world’s first female fighter pilot, was assigned to Russia’s elite, 73rd Air Squadron where she completed 268 missions, recorded 15 solo kills, and assisted on 22 others—records which stand to this day.


Lt. Lilia Litvyak, Hitler’s Worst Public Relations Nightmare.


Around the same time, a beautiful Philadelphia debutante, Amelia Earhart, married a wealthy publisher and publicist named George P. Putnam, who funded her passion for flying, which included flying across the Atlantic in a state-of-the-art plane with experienced male crew members. Soon, she was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City.


(left) Putnam and Earhart. (right) Press greets Earhart after the cross Atlantic trip.


Years later, while attempting to fly around the world, Amelia disappeared. Every year in America July 24th is celebrated as Amelia Earhart day. There are press stories in all the media and parades with floats to celebrate her flying accomplishments.


Annual Amelia Earhart Day Parade in Columbus, Ohio


In 17 days before her 22nd birthday, a war-weary Lilia disappeared in a dog fight over the Eastern Ukraine near the town of Marinovka, population 827. Virtually, no one outside of Russia and Ukraine even knows Lilia’s name, much less the story of her amazing, but short life.


Lilia’s desolate gravesite in the middle of the war-ravaged Eastern Ukraine


I’m happy to report, 99 years after she was born, Lilia Litvyak visited the United States. More than 250 people in Cleveland, finally heard the complete story of her life and times. Lilia asked me to tell America, “thank you for the evening.” And, to thank the event’s host, Jim Lineweaver, for making sure that everyone in attendance received a copy of Call Sign, White Lily, which took me 5 years and 100’s of interviews to complete.


DATE: May.27.2020 | CATEGORY: My Books