When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville's debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and a student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. When the U.S. Army Air Forces to put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,000 women from across the nation to make it through the Army's rigorous selection process and earn their silver wings.