Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marquita Fortner; Aviation as a Family Tradition

This Volunteer Profile appeared in the March/April 2010 edition of "ALOFT," a publication of Seattle's Museum of Flight.

Marquita Fortner has been described as “an accomplished young woman.” That may be an understatement. In just two years as a Docent, working Saturdays and every special event she can squeeze in, she has amassed 262 hours of volunteer time. Why?

“It’s a great place to share my love of aviation, its history, people, planes and companies,” she replies.

Aviation is in her genes. Both parents are private pilots and Marquita flew a plane before she drove a car. She is a graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute, Embry-Riddle and has a Masters degree in transportation policy from George Mason University. She is employed by a consulting firm that supports the air cargo industry and will soon receive her commission in the U. S. Navy reserve. She is a busy 27 year old!

She enjoys all her Docent time at the museum and particularly enjoys speaking with young people about opportunities in the aviation field. Two museum encounters have been particularly memorable. Working the 2009 gala she met and was photographed with her “all time favorite” astronaut, Charles Duke, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 16. (Who landed on the moon a full decade before she was born!)

On another occasion, while giving a Tip-to-Tail presentation on the F-104, she met an “F-104” pilot and his daughter. The daughter returned later to thank Marquita, indicating her presentation had caused her dad to open up about his flying experiences like never before.

“It meant a lot to me to see how the presentation helped the daughter to learn more about her father. He’d ejected from two F-104’s and ended up marrying one of the crash investigating officers. He also served as an SR-71 test pilot. What a flying career!”

Though her Naval Reserve duties will take her from the museum some weekends she still plans to stay as involved as she can. Starting so young, there is a good chance she will set new records for volunteer hours. She is off to a good start.


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