Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1992 Induction

Major Marie T. Rossi-Cayton was an outstanding aviator and soldier who lost her life flying and soldiering in combat in Southwest Asia during Operation DESERT STORM. Major Rossi-Cayton, 32, the first female Aviation Commander to fly into combat, led B Company, 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 18th Aviation Brigade and was the pilot of a CH-47D Chinook flying supplies to troops in the combat zone.

One day before the ground phase of Operation DESERT STORM began, television viewers across the United States saw a Cable News Network (CNN) interview of Major Rossi-Cayton in which she spoke of her role as a woman flying in the combat zone. Major Rossi-Cayton commented that she would be among the first to cross into Iraq when the ground war started.

In a "no big deal" context, she said, "Personally, as an aviator and a soldier, this is the moment that anybody trains for, so I feel ready for the challenge." With the selflessness of these words and thoughts, she captured and epitomized the excellence of today's Army leaders and aviators.

Major Rossi-Cayton was the first female U.S. Army Aviator to be killed while flying combat support missions in an active theater of war. She set the example for the legions of female aviators and soldiers to follow - indeed for all who are to follow in the contingencies and wars of the future, male and female. She was an outstanding soldier who gave her life flying and soldiering in Southwest Asia.