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Aero Dinner Tonight
'Early Bird' Aviatrices Hold Reunion in Capital, Swap Tales With 99-ers
By Mary Van Rensselaer Thayer

TONIGHT'S Aero Club dinner and this morning's high doings at the Smithsonian Institution have lured a number of our pioneer aviatrixes to town. They're busy swapping experiences and checking present activities of the 40-plus "Early Birds" (pilots who received licenses before 1916) who were flown in by the United States Air Force. The most seasoned of the lady fliers is Ruth Law, who earned a license back in 1912. She was the first woman to own and fly a Wright brothers plane. The Wrights were scandalized by the whole idea. They sold Ruth the plane but refused to teach her to fly.

Instead, a 16-year-old boy, who did odd jobs for the Wrights, took her up for a couple precarious spins. Ruth soloed in short order, earned her flying certificate. She was the first woman to undertake a long-distance flight, miraculously achieving intact the breath-taking distance from Chicago to New York in the dim past of 1916. 

"Mother" Tusch, one of the most picaresque present, plays a very special role in today's ceremonies. A wall from her small house in Berkeley, Calif., is being installed in the Smithsonian. It's no ordinary wall, of course, it is covered with autographs of such famous flyers as "Hap" Arnold, Jimmy Doolittle.

Mother Tusch, who lived near a training center, got to know most of the flying kids before they went overseas. She had them in for meals and such, mothered them to a fare-thee-well, thus acquiring her happy nickname. Yesterday these and more visiting lady flyers were partied by Blanche Noyes of the "99" and once winner of the woman's Bendix Trophy.

The "99ers" are a tight little group of women pilots who hold international flying licenses. The organization was formed in 1929, with Amelia Earhart as first president. One hundred and seventeen eligible aviatrices were invited to the initial meeting. Ninety-nine turned up, hence the provocative name.

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General Vaughan's Medals 
"LOOK, it says here I'm getting a medal from Peron!" exclaimed Brig. Gen. Harry Vaughan to his wife. Spotting the A. P. story in Sunday's Washington Post was the amiable presidential aide's first indication of Argentine favor. By evening a Broadway broadcaster had picked up the item and enlarged it. Vaughan was accepting medals from all over, he bawled.

As a matter of fact, General Vaughan previously accepted another medal in August 19th, 1948. It was a very snazzy-looking decoration called the Cross of Military Merit and it came from Guatemala. The general, on invitation from Guatemala's chief of staff, had flown down to be present at the anniversary celebration of the tiny Central American country's military academy.  

BUT-General Vaughan, immediately on arriving home, deposited it at the State Department, where the bauble will wait until Congress signifies permission for him to accept it.

During the war our military could receive decorations from foreign governments. But from July 1, 1948, no foreign medal may be accepted until our legislators give it an o. k.
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