Natalya Meklin

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Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin (nee Kravtsova)
Born (1922-09-08)September 8, 1922
Lubny, Ukraine
Died June 5, 2005(2005-06-05) (aged 82)
Moscow, Russia
Allegiance  Soviet Union  Russia
Service/branch Soviet Air Force
Years of service 1941–1957
Rank Major
Commands held 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Order of LeninOrder of the Red Star with sign of HonourOrder Of The Patriotic War (2nd Class)Order of the Badge of Honour

Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin née Kravtsova (Russian: Наталья Фёдоровна Меклин, Ukrainian: Наталія Фёдорiвна Меклин; 1922–2005) was a much decorated World War II combat pilot in one of the three women-only Soviet air regiments. They were nicknamed the 'Night Witches' by their German opponents.

She was born on September 8, 1922, in Lubny, Ukraine. In 1940 she joined the glider school at the Kiev Young Pioneer Palace. When she was 19, in 1942 she joined the Night Witches, piloting a Polikarpov Po-2 light bomber, and by the end of the war had flown 980 night missions. In 1953 she graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages.[1]

Subsequently she worked as a translator before retiring. She became a member of the Union of Soviet Writers. It is rewarded with the Order of Lenin, with Orders of the Patriotic War of the 1st and 2nd degrees, of the Red Star, with medals. Several schools are named after her in Smolensk, Poltava, Stavropol' and other cities. She was entitled honorable citizen of the city of Gdańsk (Poland). She died in Moscow on 5 June 2005.[2]

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