Hazel Swanson contributed to the United States' World War II effort by serving as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol's Cedar Falls squadron. She was one of the first women ever to participate in the program.

The 96-year-old woman was honored over Memorial Day weekend for what she did so many years ago. She was given a Congressional Gold Medal.

Per filvetrep.org, the honor is "bestowed by Congress and is the highest civilian award in the United States. The decoration is awarded to an individual or unit who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States."

KWWL says that in 2014, "Congress honored the Civil Air Patrol with a gold medal to recognize the service of more than 120,000 of its members during the war. The medal collectively honors all members of the Civil Air Patrol."

For those unaware of what the Civil Air Patrol and Swanson carried out during WWII, the Civil Air Patrol website says this: "In January 1942, German submarines began attacking merchant vessels along the East Coast. With the military unable to respond in force, CAP established coastal patrol flights to deter, report, and prevent enemy operations.

From March 1942 through August 1943, armed CAP aircraft at 21 coastal patrol bases extending from Maine to the Mexican border patrolled the waters off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts."

In the midwest, things were a bit different for Swanson and her compatriots. Civil Air Patrol Iowa Wing Commander Colonel Jonathan Lartigue told KWWL this:

Here in the Midwest, through personnel transport, target towing and other critical infrastructure missions to support the war effort.

Ms. Swanson said this upon receiving the award:

I never dreamed I would ever reach that wonderful level. It is really welcome and nice. Thank you.

As to why she is just now receiving the award, it's unclear.

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