Galina Dzhunkovskaya was born in the village of Yurkovka in the Kiev region of Ukraine; her father was a peasant firmer. In 1935, she went to Grozny in the Chechen-Ingush ASSR to study medicine. However, her career goal changed, and she went to Moscow to study aviation engineering. At the outbreak of the war, Dzhunkovskaya volunteered as a nurse's aid and helped in civil defence along with members of the Moscow Aviation Institute. She tired of digging ditches and wanted a more direct role in the war. When she heard the call of Marina Raskova for women volunteers to join her Flying regiment, the young student immediately signed up. She was trained as a navigator at Engels near Stalingrad, and was posted to the newly formed 587th Dive-Bomber Regiment. This unit employed the fast twin-engined Petlyakov Pe-2 medium bomber. The 587th was originally commanded by Marina Raskova, but she was killed in an aircraft accident in January 1943. Maj Valentin Markov was appointed as her successor, a position he initially considered humiliating. To make matters worse, the women disliked the newcomer. Not wishing to be condescending, Markov began as a strict and demanding commander, which earned him the unflattering nickname of "Bayonet." As their incredible feats became known Maj Markov's attitude towards the women softened, and particularly towards Dzhunkovskaya, with whom he fell in love. Likewise, the women gradually accepted him and his new nickname became "Daddy." The major would often lead the bombing missions and he wanted the best navigator to accompany him. Galina Ivanovna Dzhunkovskaya The best navigator in the unit happened to be Galina Dzhunkovskaya. Because of his position, Maj Markov could not show any preferential treatment towards any one woman, including his navigator. The disciplined officer continued to do his duty while suffering in silence for love. During this time, Dzhunkovskaya had a close encounter with death. Her bomber was intercepted by German fighters and a savage gunfight ensued. When the Pe-2 gunner ran out of ammunition, two fighters came in from the rear for the kill. She quick wittedly grabbed a flare pistol, and from an open hatch fired a desperate shot. The signal flare exploded and the enemy pilots, believing that the Pe-2 was firing an aerial grenade, broke off the attack and fled. In the spring of 1944, Dzhunkovskaya teamed up with Klavdiya Fomicheva from the 2nd Squadron. On their first mission together in Belorussia, they were hit by anti-aircraft fire and their port engine caught fire. They completed their bombing run, but were forced to bail out at an extremely low altitude of 150m. Their aircraft was seen to crash, and they were reported killed in action. The two women were both injured and Dzhunkovskaya had suffered burns to her face. The radio operator was killed in the crash. The two survivors were picked up by friendly troops, received first aid treatment and made their way hack to base. When Fomicheva and Dzhunkovskaya landed by transport plane at their base five days later, it was Maj Markov who rushed forward and carried the injured navigator off the plane. The commander had been worried and despondent for days. Now, the entire regiment knew of his feelings for his navigator. By December 1944, Dzhunkovskaya had completed 62 missions, engaged in five aerial combats, and was credited with two enemy fighters shot down. Immediately after the end of hostilities, Galina Dzhunkovskaya married her commander, Valentin Markov, which came as no surprise to the other women in the regiment. On August 18, 1945, she received the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Both later served in the Soviet Far East, but she retired in 1950 due to poor health attributed to her wartime service. Dzhunkovskaya-Markova graduated from Kirovgrad Teacher's College and taught English for many years. She passed away on September 12, 1985.