Mariana Drăgescu (Marie-Ane-Aurelia Drăgescu) is the last female legend of the Romanian aviation, that fought on both lines and managed to save the life of over 15.000 soldiers. Since she was 4 years old, Mariana was interested in sports. She was passionated about cycling, riding, skating, some different passions unlike those of the young women from that time.
Still, Mariana was alike her mother who had an adventurous spirit, liked freedom and always overflowed with energy.
The moment The First World War broke out, Mariana had just come with her parents in Bucharest. The german planes were bombarding the town and Mariana was extremely happy and wanted to go out, to see them better. She didn’t fear. She represented a symbol of courage, dedication, a true life model, being a courageous person by nature that fought hard with the prejudices of a society that marginalized the woman, seeing her only in the position of housewife.
Mariana finished the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports and The Riding School of the Fourth Regiment Rosiori. In 1935, she secretly enrolled at the Pilotage School from Baneasa, starting to fly in double command and was trained by the famous aviation captain Constantin Abelas. In 1937, Mariana Drăgescu was assigned at the Royal Aero Club and in june 1940, at the Ministry of Air and Navy Transport as pilot.
In 1941, she left on the frontline, taking part in the Sanitary Squadron surnamed The White Squadron – the only unit of sanitary planes in the world that is piloted by women. Mariana Drăgescu took part in the War on both lines, where she piloted until the last day of the war.
For three years, until 1957, she worked as a flight instructor at the Aviation School Ghimbav from Brasov, then she hired as a clerk at a medical clinic, where she worked as a typist for 10 years. When she turned 100 years old – in September 2012-the pilot Mariana Drăgescu, the longest living member of the White Squadron and the only Romanian pilot woman on the Western Front, was decorated with the Emblem The Honor of the Romanian Army, receiving the rank of commander. At Mariana Drăgescu’s increase in degree ceremony took part the Chief of the General Major State, the Chief of the Major State of the Air Forces and the President of the National Association of the War Veterans.
“a life that began in 1912 in the service of an idea: the flight, that she served passionately on her way to the stars” (General Dobran)