Leigh Torgerson, former U.S. Navy Aviator: The WASP story is an important story to tell!

by Jess Clackum

Leigh Torgerson in 1972

Leigh Torgerson in 1972

Leigh Torgerson is a native of California--raised in the valley. A graduate of UCLA, he served 9 years as an Aviator in the United States Navy. Afterward he worked with Lockheed Skunk Works for ten years and for the last 25, he’s been with CalTechJet Propulsion Lab where he specializes in spacecraft communications and networking.

Leigh is a great supporter of the WASP and the FlyGirls series.

"My grandmother told me stories about Amelia Earhart when I was young. I grew up in North Hollywood and often saw Amelia's statue at North Hollywood Park by the library. My father worked at Lockheed as an engineer in the WW2 era and told me stories about the women who ferried fighter planes over to England during the war."

"When I was in college, I got my private pilot training and my FAA check ride from aviation pioneer Claire Walters in Santa Monica - and I learned how to fly low and fast from one of Claire's Powder Puff Derby racers. That came in handy when I went on to become a Naval Aviator and I flew S-3A Vikings (which often had to fly low and fast). After the S-3A tour, I did a tour as a flight instructor in Pensacola where I was in training squadron VT-2 with Jane O'Dea, the first Navy woman qualified as a flight instructor, and who I greatly admired.

So for me, the story of women in aviation is something I got to see firsthand, something I appreciate deep down, and that's why this is an important story to tell!"

Thank you Leigh for your service to our country and for supporting the WASP and FlyGirls