Mariya Dolina

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Mariya Dolina
Марія Доліна
File:Mariya Dolina.jpg
Dolina in front of Pe-2
Born 18 December 1922
Sharovka, Omsk Oblast, Russian SFSR
Died 3 March 2010(2010-03-03) (aged 87)
Kiev, Ukraine
Allegiance Soviet Air Force
Years of service 1941–1950
Rank Captain of the Guards
Unit 125th Guards Bomber Flying Regiment
(4th Guards Bomber Flying Division, 1st Guards Bomber Flying Corps, 3rd Flying Army)
Commands held Deputy commander of the 125th Guards Bomber Flying Regiment
Battles/wars Eastern Front of World War II
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin Order of the Red Banner Order of the Red Banner Order Of The Patriotic War 1st Class
Medal for Bravery

Mariya Ivanivna Dolina (Ukrainian: Марія Іванівна Доліна, Russian: Мария Ивановна Долина Mariya Ivanovna Dolina; December 18, 1922 – March 3, 2010) was a Soviet pilot, deputy and acting squadron commander of the 125th “Marina M. Raskova” Borisov Guards Bomber Regiment.[1] She was active primarily on the 1st Baltic Front during World War II. On August 18, 1945 Dolina was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.


Born in the village of Sharovka, Poltavka District, Omsk Region of Siberia,[1] Dolina was the eldest daughter of Ukrainian peasants.[2][3] In 1934, after Mariya's father lost his leg in the Russian Civil War, the family moved back to Ukraine again.[2] Because of her father's condition, Dolina had to provide for the whole family, consequently she left school and went to work in a factory.[2] Despite her mother's opposition,[2] Mariya trained at a flying club[2] of the paramilitary Osoaviakhim and, in 1940, graduated from the Kherson Flying School.,[1][2] after which she entered the Engels Military Flying School. Before the German invasion of 22 June 1941, she worked as an instructor in flying clubs in Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv.[1] In July 1941, she started her military service. She initially flew the Polikarpov Po-2, liaising with infantry units. [1] Later she became a crew member of a Petlyakov Pe-2 twin-engine, medium-range bomber, in the 587° Dive Bomber Regiment.

Dolina, who described herself as being “impulsive and excessively restless”, nevertheless became one of the best pilots of her unit, later re-designated – for its distinguished combat performance - 125th “M.M. Raskova” Borisov Guards Dive Bomber Regiment.[4]

On June 2, 1943, Dolina's aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft artillery over Kuban prior to reaching her target, disabling an engine and causing a fire. Dolina's fighter escort had disappeared while pursuing enemy fighters, yet she continued flying and made the scheduled bomb-drop. On the way back, with no fighter escort, her flight was attacked by six German fighters (2 FW 190 and 4 Bf 109). Dolina's crew claimed one FW 190 and one Bf 109. Altogether, Mariya flew seventy-two missions bombing enemy ammunition depots, strongpoints, tanks, artillery batteries, rail and water transports, and supporting Soviet ground troops.[5] After the war, Dolina continued to serve in the Soviet Air Force as deputy commander of a bombing aviation regiment. She lived in the city of Šiauliai (now Lithuania) and then in Riga (now Latvia) where she worked in the Latvian Communist Party Central Committee until 1975.[3] She was married twice, both times to former Soviet Air Forces mechanics. After her first husband died in 1977, she married another from her former regiment.[2]

Many pioneer secondary schools were named after her.[3]

Dolina lived in Kiev (hence in Ukraine again) from 1983 until her death.[3][6]

On the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II Dolina was promoted to the rank of major by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and awarded with the title of "Honored Citizen of Kiev" by mayor of Kiev Leonid Kosakivskyi,[7] and a Kievian school was named after her.

Dolina took part in the 2009 celebrations of Victory Day in Kiev.[8]

On March 3, 2010, Dolina died in Kiev at the age of 87.[9]

Honours and awards

See also



Further reading

  • Прыжок из пламени. (В небе фронтовом; М., 1971). (Russian)
  • Cottam, Kazimiera Janina. Women in War and Resistance – Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers. Newburyport MA, Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Co. 1998. ISBN 1-58510-160-5.

External links