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He also had planned a viable alternate destination at a hunting camp at Chakachamna Lake in case he had trouble along the way.
Along with an observer, he flew the 225 miles to Sleetmute believing he would soon find Merrill, or hear word of his location.
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"For the freedom to be bestowed there needs to be a two thirds majority of the council but I am sure such an award for such an amazing woman will have widespread support from all councillors from all parties and from Island residents," Mr Stewart added.
Mary's goddaughter, adult services cabinet member Councillor Clare Mosdell, said: "Mary is a remarkable but modest woman who loves this Island and would accept such a wonderful honour but be embarrassed over all the fuss.
"She is the last link to female pilots who did vital work in the fight against the Nazis and also against perceptions of what women could do.
Despite the danger and the attitudes of the time, Mary and her comrades came out triumphant in both.
"She made the Island her home after the war and she successfully ran Sandown airport for many years.
So, this honour is for a resident who helped save our country and who has given so much to our Island for decades." Any decision to bestow 'the Freedom' must be taken by the Full Council and requires an extraordinary meeting of it.
Often described by those who knew him as clear-eyed and careful, he was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and learned to fly in the United States Navy during World War I.
Although he never saw combat, he had 376 flight hours when the war ended, all of it on floats.
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