Leah Mosher, Remembering the Pilot turned Schoolteacher

Leah Mosher Death – Leah Mosher of Ottawa, Canada. Pioneering RCAF Hercules pilot who later became a schoolteacher passed away on November 3, 2021 at the age of 67; however, her cause of death was not disclosed as well as her obituary and funeral arrangements.

Mosher flew the CC-130 Hercules transport and the CC-144 Challenger aircraft on RCAF missions that took her around the world. After retiring from the military in 1996, Mosher launched a second career as a teacher, devoting herself to special education during 16 years in the classroom.

Leah Mosher was one of the three first women picked to train as pilots in the Canadian Forces. All graduated from RCAF flight school. Name of the other two are; Deanna Brasseur and Nora Bottomley.

The three women received their wings at a ceremony in February 1981. Brasseur would go on to become one of Canada’s first two female fighter pilots. Mosher became the first woman to fly an RCAF Hercules transport plane.

Based at CFB Trenton, Mosher flew transport and supply missions to 33 countries. She then moved to Ottawa, trained on the Challenger jet, joined 412 Transport Squadron and ferried government VIPs until 1989, when she took a management position at National Defence headquarters.

Leah Mosher was born into an air force family on June 19, 1954, in Sydney, N.S. Her parents both worked in fighter support roles for the RCAF, which meant she grew up on air force bases around the world. As a young girl, inspired by the United States space program, Leah dreamed of being an astronaut. She joined the RCAF at the age of 19, enlisting as a supply technician.

She enrolled in the military’s university training plan, a program designed to give enlisted members a path to the officer ranks, and completed a history degree at Acadia University. She was then appointed as an air force supply officer at CFB Edmonton.

In 1978, she was promoted to captain and set her sights on becoming an air force pilot. At the time, women were not allowed to become military pilots, nor were they given combat roles, but the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada had set the stage for change: It recommended in 1970 that the military open more roles to women.

In 1979, the government announced the military would experiment with women in new roles. Four separate trials, involving 280 women, were launched in what had previously been all-male units. One of them involved aircrew.

Mosher had already earned her private pilot’s licence by the time she was invited to an aircrew selection event in Toronto in June 1979. She was one of four women accepted into the RCAF’s pilot training program.

She retired from the military in 1996 as a major, but rarely spoke about whatever harassment or discrimination she had faced as an air force pioneer. “She expressed to me the difficulty of being a woman in a man’s world,” her brother said.

Mosher launched a second career as a teacher after earning an education degree from Queen’s University. She taught primarily in the field of special education at schools in Belleville, Ottawa and in Holland.

Mosher retired in 2013 and subsequently spent winters in Arizona. In her spare time, she liked to garden, read, exercise and walk her dog, Tori. She also volunteered at an Ottawa women’s shelter, where she taught children sheltering with their mothers.

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