Delta throws 102nd birthday bash for one of first flight attendants

Delta Air Lines
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Delta throws 102nd birthday bash for one of first flight attendants

Delta Air Lines
Sybil Peacock Harmon, then a 24-year-old nurse, started working for Delta in 1940.

- (Begin old-timey announcer voice) The war was in its second year. Bugs Bunny has just made his debut. Ted Koppel was born. The year? 1940. (End old-timey announcer voice)

And Delta is hiring its first class of stewardesses, now called flight attendants. Among them was Sybil Peacock Harmon, then a 24-year-old nurse. Delta recently threw a 102nd birthday party for her at her Acworth retirement home, the airline giant said in a news release last week.

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“Flying was special because I was going places,” she said. “When I was 9, I told everyone, ‘I’m going to go all over the world.’”

She did.

Harmon said that Delta flew many young World War II pilots back to their bases after they had ferried war planes to North Africa.

“We called them ‘War Babies’ because they were so young,” she said. “ ... I was amazed these young men actually flew huge bombers and fighters. Most of the War Babies slept on flights because they had just come in from North Africa and were exhausted. When they couldn’t sleep, we’d play poker with them in the back of the plane.”

She said she “felt like a celebrity” as a stewardess; kids asked for her autograph.

At the party, there was a display of Harmon’s original flight log books, a stewardess uniform from that time and a life-size cutout of Harmon from a 1940 Delta marketing photo shoot.

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She worked there three years and ended up marrying a U.S. Army captain who went on to be a director for Delta in Dallas. Their daughter worked for Delta for 35 years.

“It’s a whole new world now,” Harmon said. “I am proud to have paved the way for the next generation.”

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