Hiuaz Dospanova, the only Kazakh female pilot in the World War II
Hiuaz Dospanova was the only female pilot and navigator from Kazakhstan to serve in 588th Night Bomber Regiment known as “Night Witches” during the World War II.
Hiuaz was born on May 15, 1922 in Atyrau region. In 1940, she graduated from Uralsk Secondary School No. 1. Later the same year, she attempted to enroll in the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy in Moscow, Russia, but she was rejected. She, instead, entered the First Moscow Medical Institute.
As the Second World War started to unfold, the need for pilots suddenly arose, and she was accepted into military service. With the Soviet 588th Night Bomber Regiment (later the 46th “Taman” Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment; sometimes known by the nickname “Night Witches” given by their German opposition), she flew 300 combat sorties across Eastern Europe.
She was awarded the Order of the Red Star, Order of the Red Banner for her service and bravery. After the war, she was active in politics and became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1951. She had to retire in 1959 because of the health issues.
She published her memoirs in Kazakh and Russian languages in the 1960s. In 2004, she was awarded the title Hero of Kazakhstan (Khalyk Kaharmany) with Gold Star and the Order of Otan. She passed away in May 2008.