Many people believe that the first female Hero of the Soviet Union was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya who was awarded the title in 1941.
This is not the case though: the title was first awarded to women before the Great Patriotic War. Three women at once became Heroes of the Soviet Union by Decree dated November 2, 1938: Valentina Grizodubova, Polina Osipenko, and Marina Raskova. They gave their resounding names to a record: on September 24, 1938, an aircrew that consisted of Grizodubova as the crew captain, Osipenko as the second pilot, and Raskova as the navigator took off from Moscow on an ANT-37 Rodina plane, and headed for the Far East. The flight did not go smoothly, ending with a crash landing in a swamp near the River Amgun 26 hours and 29 minutes later. Once the aviators were found after more than a week’s search, the women’s World Record for Distance in a Straight Line Without Landing – 5,908 km – was registered.