Deanna Brasseur and Jane Foster became Canada's first female fighter pilots available for combat roles and possibly, the world's first.
Jane Foster (left) and Deanna Brasseur (right).
Until the early 1990s, women were disqualified from becoming fighter pilots in most of the air forces throughout the world. The exceptions being Turkey where Sabiha Gökçen became one of the first female fighter pilot in history in 1936. She went on to fly fast jets well into the 1950s and the USSR during the Second World War 1942-1945 where many women were trained as fighter pilots including Lilya Litvyak, who became the top scoring woman ace of all time with 12 Kills and Katya Budanova, a close second, with 11 kills, although both were killed in combat.
That all changed on this day in 1989, when Deanna Brasseur and Jane Foster became the first women in Canada - and perhaps the world -- to graduate from the gruelling CF-18 jet fighter program.
An unlikely crusader for women's rights, Brasseur began her military life in the early 1970s as a 19-year-old typist. Inspired by her father's accomplished career in the RCAF, Brasseur soon applied to become an officer, launching what would become a series of firsts for women in the military. Over the space of 21 years she would have to endure pain, prejudice and sexual persecution, before she would be allowed behind the controls of one of the most deadly fighter planes in the world.