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"H” is for Hembel, Caroline Etheridge (1918-2001)

“H” is for Hembel, Caroline Etheridge (1918-2001). Pioneer aviator. A native of Saluda and graduate of Furman, Hembel was enthralled by the exploits of Amelia Earhart and decided to become a pilot when female pilots were a novelty. In 1939 Hembel became the first female pilot in the Southeast to receive her pilot’s license. During World War II she was assigned to train Navy V-5 pilots at Columbia’s Owens Field. In 1943 she became a WASP (Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots member). With her husband, Hembel established the South Carolina Helicopters, a Saluda firm that became one of America’s largest helicopter training schools and has trained pilots all over the world. In 1995, the South Carolina Aviation Association named Caroline Etheridge Hembel South Carolina Aviator of the Year and inducted her into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.