February 18: Today in Texas History #txhx

1685 – Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, and thus formed the basis for France’s claim to Texas.

1910 – A Frenchman, Louis Paulhan, made the first recorded airplane flight in Texas. The alleged flight of Jacob F. Brodbeck in 1865 has become a Texas legend. Lt. Benjamin Foulois, a colorful pioneer pilot, arrived at Fort Sam Houston in February 1910, assembled the army’s recently purchased Wright biplane, and took to the air on March 2, 1910. Almost a hundred years later, Texas continues to be a leader in civil and military aviation.

1943 – Wilma “Dolly” Vinsant Shea graduated with the first flight-nurse class of the United States Army Air Forces at Bowman Field, Kentucky. The San Benito, Texas, native served in the European Theater during World War II. She was killed on April 14, 1945, when her evacuation plane, ferrying wounded Americans to hospitals behind the front line, was shot down over Germany. She was one of three women in the Army Nurse Corps known to have been killed by direct enemy action and the only one from Texas. Her awards include the Air Medal, the Red Cross Medal, a Special Citation from President Harry Truman, and a posthumous Purple Heart.

1973 – At Texas Stadium, the Dallas Bluebonnets lost their opening game to the Toledo Troopers. The Bluebonnets were the first Texas team of the National Women’s Football League.

“What Texans can dream, Texans can do.” George W. Bush

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