Dorothy Fulton was born October 14, 1918, in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey to Harry Leroy and Johanna Crystal Jensen Fulton. As a young child, Amelia Earhart was Dorothy’s heroine and flying became her passion which caused her parents some concern. However, they did not stand in her way. Instead, they encouraged her to follow her dream and Dorothy began flying at the age of fifteen. She attended nearby Teaneck High School which was the first high school to offer a two-year flying course for students to earn a pilot’s license. Dorothy soloed on March 27, 1936, as the first girl in the class. She received her amateur license a few months later and earned her private pilot’s license on August 5, 1937.
After graduation, she earned her commercial, multi-engine, and instructor’s ratings. She taught flying and ground school at Bendix Airport which is now Teterboro. In addition, Dorothy attended New York University as an aviation major and went into business, running a flying school at several New Jersey airports.
By the time, she joined the WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) in October 1942, Dorothy logged 3,269 hours of flying time. She was the 23rd woman pilot to be accepted but was listed as number 22 on the final WAFS list. Her first assignment base was Wilmington, Delaware.
The WAFS program merged with the WFTD and became known as the WASP in August 1943. After a year at Wilmington, Dorothy was among the first group sent to Palm Springs in October 1943 thru November 18, 1943, at which time she transferred to Long Beach, CA. At Long Beach, she received the multi-engine and the BT-13 checkout. On March 18, 1944, Dorothy transferred to the 3rd Ferrying Group in Romulus, Michigan. She came down with a severe case of pneumonia and was hospitalized for two months. Dorothy was released for ground duty and advised by her physician not to fly. She resigned from the WASP in the summer of 1944.
After the war, Dorothy went back to instructing and continued to teach in New York and New Jersey. She married, had one son Clarence “Speedy” Slinn, and eventually divorced. She died of pneumonia and other complications on February 11, 1985.
Written by: Ann Haub | Collections Director
Photos courtesy: National WASP WWII Museum Archives
Partner with the WASP Archive in achieving its mission to collect, protect, preserve and provide access to materials that chronicle the WASP story, its legacy, and the personal and professional lives of its pilots. New artifacts are always welcome. Please call Ann Haub at 325-235-0099 or by emailing her at email@example.com.