Lt. Col. Jeri Truesdell holds her CAP Congressional Gold Medal replica in Washington, D.C.
Lt. Col. Jeri Truesdell, thought to be Civil Air Patrol’s oldest living Congressional Gold Medal honoree for World War II service, died Saturday in California, three days after her 103rd birthday.
Truesdell earned her pilot’s certificate in 1939 and joined the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots, and the Chicago Girls Flying Club. Then, after the U.S. entered World War II, she joined CAP in 1942 and served until 1944 as a pilot in the Illinois Wing.
After that she joined the U.S. Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) program, where she remained for the duration of the war.
Truesdell rejoined CAP in September 2014 at age 100 in a ceremony at Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport highlighted by her flight in a CAP plane in seven decades.
She was among the World War II members presented with replicas of CAP’s Congressional Gold Medal in a gala held in their honor Dec. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C.