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Women Airforce Service Pilots

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)
The WASP badge.
Elizabeth L. Remba Gardner, Women's Airforce Service Pilots, NARA-542191.jpg

Elizabeth L. Gardner, WASP member at the controls of a B-26 Marauder.
Agency overview
Formed August 5, 1943 (1943-08-05)
Preceding agencies
  • Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD), formed September 1942
  • Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), formed September 1942
Dissolved December 20, 1944
Employees 1,830 accepted for training
1,074 completed training
Parent agency United States Army Air Forces

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), referred to by some as the Women's Army Service Pilots,[2] was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. The WASP and its members had no military standing. It had two predecessors, the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), both were organized separately in September 1942. They were the pioneering organizations of civilian women pilots, who were attached to the United States Army Air Forces to fly military aircraft during World War II. On August 5, 1943, the WFTD and WAFS merged to create the WASP organization.

Over 25,000 women made application to join the WASP; 1,830 were accepted but only 1,074 completed the training.[3] The applicants all had prior experience and airman certificates. While the majority of those accepted into the WASP were Caucasian women, its members also included Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee both Chinese Americans, Ola Mildred Rexroat a Native American, and two Mexican Americans.[4] Mildred Hemmans Carter, the only African American applicant, was asked to withdraw her application because of her race. In 1940, at age 19, she had earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Tuskegee Institute. The following year, she received her aviation certification. Because of her gender, Carter was also rejected from flying with the Tuskegee Airmen. Seventy years later, she was recognized retroactively as a WASP, and she took her final flight at age 90.[5]

The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944. During its period of operation, each member's service had freed a male pilot for military combat or other duties. They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo.[6] Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still (2018) unknown.[7] In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status, and in 2009 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal[8][9]

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  • W.A.S.P.S. (Women's Airforce Service Pilots) Video
  • Texas' All-Female World War II Pilot School


as a means of free up male pilots for combat duties Women Air Force Service Pilots or WASP, were formed in 1943 the wasps were emerging up to earlier relatively independent civil service programs for women pilots led by Jackie Cochran and Nancy love this group of women were the first licensed female pilots in the United States to fly military airplanes for military service the wasps flew every type of aircraft from the Army Air Forces inventory their duties included almost all non-combat missions such as ferrying towing targets for air air gunnery practice test flights flight instruction and cargo and personnel transport when the program abruptly ended in December 1944 with the defeat of a bill to militarize a wasp the woman returned to civilian life with no veterans benefits it wasn't until 1979 that wasps service was considered active military service wasps fulfilled all the expectations of those who initiate the program and helped to clear the way for women pilots of today I'm honored to be joined here now by Elaine Harmon women Air Force Service Pilots mrs. Harmon can you tell me a little bit about the time period and what the nation's feelings were about the war well of course when Pearl Harbor happened immediately everybody wanted to help out do something that they could help out with the war effort the government had set up a program and knowing that we were very short of pilots and they had set up a civilian pilot training program to train people and get them interested we had very very few pilots at the beginning of the war by the end of the war we had something like one and a half million I think it was some of whom we trained how did you find out about the woman Air Force Service Pilots and why did you decide to join well who would pass up an opportunity like that that's why I joined but and also it was to help with the war effort help with the war effort and enjoy what you're doing mrs. Harmon what does it mean for you to have had this opportunity it's been the highlight of my life and it's great because my grandchildren know that granny it's not just an old lady well thank you so much miss Harmon for your service and thank you for meeting with us and thank you for inviting me


Creation of the WASP

By the summer of 1941, Florida native Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran and test-pilot Nancy Harkness Love had independently submitted proposals to the U.S. Army Air Forces (the forerunner to the United States Air Force) to allow women pilots in non-combat missions, after the outbreak of World War II in Europe.[10] The reason: to free male pilots for combat roles by using qualified female pilots to ferry aircraft from the factories to military bases, and also to tow drones and aerial targets. Prior to Pearl Harbor, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the USAAF, had turned down both Love's 1940 proposal and that of the better connected and more famous Cochran, despite the lobbying for them by Eleanor Roosevelt.[11] However, he essentially promised the command to Cochran, should such a force be needed in the future.

Before the United States entered World War II, Cochran had gone to England to volunteer to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).[12] The ATA had been using female pilots since January 1940, and was starting to also train new pilots. The American women who flew in the ATA were the first American women to fly military aircraft.[12] They flew the Royal Air Force's frontline aircraft—Spitfires, Typhoons, Hudsons, Mitchells, Blenheims, Oxfords, Walruses, and Sea Otters—in non-combat roles, but in combat-like conditions. Most of these women served in the ATA during the war. Only three members returned to the U.S. to participate in the WASP program.

Deanie Parrish in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt on the flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in 1944.
Deanie Parrish in front of a P-47 Thunderbolt on the flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in 1944.

The U.S. was building its air power and military presence in anticipation of direct involvement in the conflict, and had belatedly begun to drastically expand its men in uniform. This period led to the dramatic increase in activity for the U.S. Army Air Forces, because of obvious gaps in "manpower" that could be filled by women. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, to [13] compensate for the manpower demands of the military, the government encouraged women to enter the workforce to fill both industrial and service jobs supporting the war effort.

To those most involved within the new Ferrying Division of the Air Transport Command (ATC), the numbers were painfully obvious. Col. William H. Tunner was in charge of acquiring civilian ferry pilots. He decided to integrate a civilian force of female pilots into the AAF, after speaking with Major Robert M. Love, ATC staff officer, and his wife Nancy. Convinced of the feasibility of the program by Mrs. Love, who had a Commercial Pilot License, he asked her to draw up a proposal, unaware that Arnold had shelved a similar proposal by Tunner's superior, Maj. Gen. Robert Olds.

Cochran had committed to go to Great Britain in March 1942 for the trial program of female pilots with the ATA. She used her association with the President and Mrs. Roosevelt to lobby Arnold to reject any plan that did not commission women, and set up an independent organization commanded by women. Ironically, Tunner's proposal called for commissioning women in the WAACs, but was turned down after review by Arnold.


By the mid-summer of 1942, Arnold was willing to consider the prior proposals seriously. Tunner and Love's plan was reviewed by the ATC headquarters, and forwarded by commander Gen. Harold L. George to Arnold, who was fully aware of it and gave it his blessing, after Mrs. Roosevelt had suggested a similar idea in a newspaper column. The Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) was headed by Mrs. Love, and went into operation on September 10, 1942. Soon, the Air Transport Command began using women to ferry planes from factory to airfields.


Cochran returned to the United States on September 10, 1942, as the new organization was being publicized, and immediately confronted Arnold for an explanation. Arnold claimed ignorance and blamed the ATC staff, in particular George's chief of staff, Col. (and former president of American Airlines) C. R. Smith. With the publicity involved, the WAFS program could not be reversed, and so on September 15, 1942, Cochran's training proposal was also adopted. Cochran and Love's squadrons were thereby established separately. The 319th Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) at the Municipal Airport (now Hobby. Airport) in Houston, Texas, with Cochran as commanding officer, and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, the 2nd Ferrying Group at New Castle (Delaware) Army Air Base (now New Castle Airport).

Though rivals, the two programs and their respective leaders operated independently, and without acknowledgment of each other until the summer of 1943. When Cochran pushed aggressively for a single entity to control the activity of all women pilots. Tunner, in particular, objected on the basis of differing qualification standards, and the absolute necessity of the ATC being able to control its own pilots. But Cochran's preeminence with Arnold prevailed, and in July 1943 he ordered the programs merged, with Cochran as director.[12] The WAFS and the WFTD were combined to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Love continued with the program as executive in charge of WASP ferrying operations.

Initial WASP training

Start of WASP training – class of 43-3 in January 1943. Photo by Lois Hailey.
Start of WASP training – class of 43-3 in January 1943. Photo by Lois Hailey.

The WASP training spanned 19 groups of women: The Originals, or WAFS led by Nancy Love, and The Guinea Pigs—Jacqueline Cochran's first of 18 classes of women pilots. They were required to complete the same primary, basic, and advanced training courses as male Army Air Corps pilots and many of them went on to specialized flight training.[9] Of the two Chinese-American women in the WASP, Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee, only one survived the war. Hazel Ying Lee died following a runway collision,[14] but Maggie Gee survived. The only Native American woman in the WASP, Ola Mildred Rexroat, an Oglala Sioux woman from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, also survived the war and later joined the Air Force.[15]

The WAFS each had an average of about 1,400 flying hours and a commercial pilot rating. They received 30 days of orientation to learn Army paperwork and to fly by military regulations. Afterward, they were assigned to various ferrying commands.[16]

The Guinea Pigs started training at the Houston Municipal Airport, now William P. Hobby Airport, (Texas) on November 16, 1942, as part of the 319th Army Air Force Women's Flying Training Detachment (AAFWFTD). This was just after the WAFS had started their orientation in Wilmington, Delaware. Unlike the WAFS, the women that reported to Houston did not have uniforms and had to find their own lodging.[17] The "Woofteddies" (WFTD) also had minimal medical care, no life insurance, crash truck, or fire truck, and the ambulance was loaned from the Ellington Army Airfield, along with insufficient administrative staff, and a hodgepodge of aircraft—23 types—for training.[17] As late as January 1943, when the third class was about to start their training, the three classes were described by Byrd Granger in On Final Approach, as "a raggle-taggle crowd in a rainbow of rumpled clothing", while they gathered for morning and evening colors.[18]

This lack of resources, combined with the foggy and wet Houston weather delayed the graduation of the first class from February to April 1943. Conditions included the wet, sticky, clay soil everywhere, and a scarcity of rest rooms, which made the potential for morale problems significant. To minimize this, the Fifinella Gazette was started. The first issue was published February 10, 1943. The female gremlin Fifinella was conceived by Roald Dahl and drawn by Walt Disney, and used as the official WASP mascot that appeared on their shoulder patches.

The first Houston class started with 38 women with a minimum of 200 hours. Twenty-three graduated on April 24, 1943, at the only Houston WASP graduation at Ellington Army Air Field. The second Houston class, started in December 1942 with a minimum of 100 hours, but finished their training just in time to move to Sweetwater, Texas and become the first graduating class from Avenger Field on May 28, 1943. The third class completed their advanced training at Avenger Field and graduated July 3, 1943. Half of the fourth class of 76 women started their primary training in Houston on February 15, 1943, and then transferred to Sweetwater. On March 7, 1943, the Houston classes incurred their first fatality. Margaret Oldenburg of 43-W-4 and her instructor, Norris G. Morgan, crashed seven miles south of Houston and were killed on impact. By the end of May 1943, the Houston 319th AAFWFTD was history. Later in the summer of 1943, both the WAFS and WFTD were combined into the WASP.[19]

Duties of the WASP

Florene Watson shown preparing a P-51D-5NA for a ferry flight from a factory at Inglewood, California.
Florene Watson shown preparing a P-51D-5NA for a ferry flight from a factory at Inglewood, California.

Each member had a pilot's license, but was retrained to fly the Army way by the U.S. Army Air Forces at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.[20] More than 25,000 women applied for the WASP, but only 1,830 were accepted into the program.[3][21] During the course of their training, it was reported that 552 women were released for lack of flying proficiency, 152 resigned, 27 were discharged for medical reasons, and 14 were dismissed for disciplinary reasons.[22] After completing four months of military flight training, 1,074 of them earned their wings and became the first women to fly American military aircraft. While the WASP were not trained for combat, their course of instruction was essentially the same as male aviation cadets.[23] They received no gunnery training and very little formation and aerobatic flying, but went through the maneuvers necessary to be able to recover from any position.[24] The percentage of those eliminated compared favorably with the elimination rate for male cadets' in the Central Flying Training Command.

After their training, the WASP were stationed at 122 air bases across the U.S.,[25] where they assumed numerous flight-related missions, and relieved male pilots for combat duty.[11] They flew sixty million miles of operational flights, from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. The women flew almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II. In addition, a few exceptionally qualified women were allowed to test rocket-propelled planes, to pilot jet-propelled planes, and to work with radar-controlled targets. Between September 1942 and December 1944, the WASP delivered 12,650 aircraft of 78 different types.

Thirty-eight members lost their lives in accidents, eleven died during training, and twenty-seven were killed on active duty missions.[3] Because they were not considered part of the military by the guidelines, a fallen WASP was sent home at family expense.[26] Traditional military honors or note of heroism, such as allowing the U.S. flag to be placed on the coffin or displaying a service flag in a window, were not allowed.[27][28][26]

Request for military status

The WASP members were U.S. federal civil service employees, and did not qualify for military benefits.[12] Each member paid for her own transportation costs to training sites, for her dress uniforms and room and board.[3] Although attached to the U.S. Army Air Forces, the members could resign at any time after completion of their training. On September 30, 1943, the first of the WASP militarization bills was introduced in the United States House of Representatives. Both Cochran and Arnold desired a separate corps headed by a woman colonel (similar to the WAC, WAVES, SPARS, and the Marine Corps Women's Reserve heads).[29] The War Department, however, consistently opposed the move, because there was no separate corps for male pilots as distinguished from unrated AAF officers.[29] Instead, it preferred that women be commissioned in the WAC, and added to some 2,000 "Air WAC" officers assigned to flying duty, legally permissible.[citation needed]

End of the WASP program

Helen W. Snapp, flying for the Low-target Squadron, at Camp Stewart, Georgia June 1944.
Helen W. Snapp, flying for the Low-target Squadron, at Camp Stewart, Georgia June 1944.

On June 21, 1944, the U.S. House bill to provide the WASP with military status was narrowly defeated. The civilian male pilots lobbied against the bill: reacting to closure of some civilian flight training schools, and the termination of two male pilot training commissioning programs.[30] The House Committee on the Civil Service (Ramspeck Committee) reported on June 5, 1944, that it considered the WASP unnecessary, unjustifiably expensive, and recommended that the recruiting and training of inexperienced women pilots be halted.[30]

Cochran had been pushing for a resolution of the question: in effect, delivering an ultimatum to either commission the women or disband the program. The AAF had developed an excess of pilots and pilot candidates. As a result, Arnold (who had been a proponent of militarization) ordered that the WASP be disbanded by December 20, 1944.[12] Arnold is quoted from a speech he delivered at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas on December 7, 1944:[31]

"The WASP has completed its mission. Their job has been successful. But as is usual in war, the cost has been heavy. Thirty-eight WASP have died while helping their country move toward the moment of final victory. The Air Forces will long remember their service and their final sacrifice."

It was also on December 20, 1944 that the final class of WASP pilots, 71 women in total, graduated from their training regardless of the plan to disband the WASP program within the following two weeks.[32] Following the announcement approximately 20 WASP members offered to continue ferrying aircraft for the compensation of US$1.00 (equivalent to $13.90 in 2017) a year apiece but this offer was rejected.[32] Following the group's disbandment some WASP members were allowed to fly on board government aircraft from their former bases to the vicinity of their homes as long as room was available and no additional expenses were incurred. Others had to arrange and pay for their own transportation home.[32] At the conclusion of the WASP program, 915 women pilots were on duty with the AAF: 620 assigned to the Training Command, 141 to the Air Transport Command, 133 to the numbered air forces in the continental United States, 11 to the Weather Wing, 9 to the technical commands and one to the Troop Carrier Command.[17] The WASP members ferried fifty percent of the combat aircraft during the war to 126 bases across the United States.[3] Because of the pioneering and the expertise they demonstrated in successfully flying military aircraft the WASP records showed that women pilots, when given the same training as men pilots, were as capable as men in non-combat flying.[33] During November 1944 WASP members at Maxwell Air Field founded the Order of Fifinella organization. The organization's initial goals were to help the former WASP members find employment and maintain contact between themselves. Through the years the Order of Fifinella issued newsletters, helped influence legislation and organized reunions. The group held its final meeting in 2008 and was disbanded in 2009.[34]


The records of the WASP program, like nearly all wartime files, were classified and sealed for 35 years making their contributions to the war effort little known and inaccessible to historians.[28] In 1975 under the leadership of Col. Bruce Arnold, the son of General Hap Arnold, along with the surviving WASP members organized as a group again and began what they called the "Battle of Congress". Their goal was to gain public support and have the WASP officially recognized as veterans of World War II. In 1977 the records were unsealed after an Air Force press release erroneously stated the Air Force was training the first women to fly military aircraft for the U.S.[28][35][3][36] Documents were compiled that showed during their service WASP members were subject to military discipline, assigned top secret missions and many members were awarded service ribbons after their units were disbanded.[36] It was also shown that WASP member Helen Porter had been issued a Honorable Discharge certificate by her commanding officer following her service.[36] This time, the WASPs lobbied Congress with the important support of Senator Barry Goldwater, who himself had been a World War II ferry pilot in the 27th Ferrying Squadron.[37] During hearings on the legislation opposition to the WASP members being given military recognition was voiced by the Veterans Administration, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.[32]

President Jimmy Carter signed legislation, P.L.95–202, Section 401, The G.I. Bill Improvement Act of 1977, providing that service as a WASP would be considered "active duty" for the purposes of programs administered by the Veterans Administration.[38] Honorable Discharge certificates were issued to the former WASP members in 1979.[39] In 1984, each WASP was awarded the World War II Victory Medal.[3] Those who served for more than one year were also awarded American Theater Ribbon/American Campaign Medal for their service during the war.[3] Many of the medals were accepted by the recipients' sons and daughters on their behalf.[26]

The 1977 legislation, either despite or because of its language, did not expressly allow WASPs to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. That was because Arlington National Cemetery, unlike most other national cemeteries, is administered by the Department of the Army, not the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Secretary of the Army determines eligibility for Arlington burial.[40][28] The reason for the position taken by the Army on this issue may have been the rapidly diminishing space at Arlington. But in 2002, the Army re-considered and decided that deceased WASPS were able to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In 2015, however, the Army re-interpreted the law and its own regulations against the backdrop of thirteen years of war, which once again threatened to deplete the cemetery of land. The Army ruled that the 1977 statute did not mandate the burial of deceased WASPs at Arlington Legislation in 2016 seemingly overruled the Army's interpretation and it was widely reported that WASPs could "again" be buried at Arlington.[41] The 2016 law revived the long-held concern about limited space at the cemetery.[42][43] Thus, the legislation in the 114th Congress (S.2437 by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) and H.R. 4336 by Rep. Martha McSally (R-Arizona), a retired Air Force fighter pilot), provides only for inurnment of cremated remains and not ground burial.[44]

Madge Moore showing the WASP Congressional Gold Medal[45] she received in Washington, D.C.
Madge Moore showing the WASP Congressional Gold Medal[45] she received in Washington, D.C.

In 2002 WASP member Deanie Bishop Parrish with her daughter began plans for a museum dedicated to telling the WASPs story.[46] The hangar building used for the museum, Hangar One, was originally built in 1929 and was part of the Sweetwater Municipal Airport facilities which became Avenger Field.[47] In 2005 the National WASP WWII Museums grand opening was planned for May 28, 2005 which was the 62 anniversary of the first WASP graduating class.[48] Along with the displays of uniforms, vehicles and other artifacts are several aircraft. These include a Boeing-Stearman Model 75 biplane, a Fairchild PT-19 trainer, a UC-78 Bamboo Bomber and a Vultee BT-13 Valiant trainer that was donated in September 2017.[49][50]

In 2009, the WASPs were inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[51]

On July 1, 2009 President Barack Obama and the United States Congress awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal.[8][45] Three of the roughly 300 surviving WASPs were on hand to witness the event. During the ceremony President Obama said, "The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since. Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve."[52] On May 10, 2010, the 300 surviving WASPs came to the US Capitol to accept the Congressional Gold Medal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders.[53] On New Year's Day in 2014 the Rose Parade featured a float with eight WASP members riding on it.[54]

Notable WASP aviators

Jackie Cochran (center) with WASP trainees.
Jackie Cochran (center) with WASP trainees.
Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leaving their plane, "Pistol Packin' Mama".
Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leaving their plane, "Pistol Packin' Mama".
WASP members on the flight line at Laredo Army Air Field, Texas, January 22, 1944
WASP members on the flight line at Laredo Army Air Field, Texas, January 22, 1944

Fictional depiction

  • In the 1943 movie A Guy Named Joe, Pete Sandidge (Spencer Tracy) is the reckless pilot of a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber flying out of England during World War II. He is in love with Women Airforce Service Pilot Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne), a civilian pilot ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic.
  • Season 1, Episode 22 of Baa Baa Black Sheep was entitled W*A*S*P*S.[95] It first aired on March 1, 1977. The episode has several errors of fact. Two are that there is no "s" at the end of the name, because the name itself is plural and the WASP never flew overseas.
  • The novel Skies Over Sweetwater by Julia Moberg is entirely about WASP and follows the lives of fictional characters as they train.[96]
  • In the modern Wonder Woman continuity, Steve Trevor's mother, Diana Trevor, was a WASP who inadvertently crash-landed on Themyscira on a mission in the 1940s and died helping the Amazons fight an attacking menace.
  • In 2000 novel Queen of Aces by Aaron Masters: an action adventure story about one of America's greatest pilots, Meg Reilly, as told first-hand by Aviation Life reporter Aaron Masters. Meg follows in the footsteps of her godmother Amelia Earhart and father Rye Reilly, a WWI MOH awardee, combat ace, and aircraft designer. Mock combat barnstormer and Bendix racer Meg soon becomes "First Lady of the Air" with the death of Amelia. With the outbreak of WWII, Meg is relegated to ferrying duty, first with the WAFS and later as a WASP, while her brothers become combat pilots. Meg makes a major contribution to the war only to be deactivated along with her fellow WASPs in 1944. Meg ventures to England with three other WASPs to conduct transition training on the new P-51D. Soon, the foursome is asked to secretly ferry these much-needed Mustangs to a forward base in France. On one particular mission, a vicious twist of fate thrusts her into combat—the first American woman ever to engage the enemy in hostile skies. (Top Publications, Dallas, TX). Note – Soon to be a movie by the same name (Silver Lion Films).[citation needed]
  • The 2008 TV movie Warbirds features a WASP B-29 crew, whose plane is commandeered for a secret mission but crashes on a pteranodon-infested island.[97]
  • A 2009 episode of the TV show Cold Case features the investigators looking for the murderer of a WASP, after her plane is found in modern-day Philadelphia.[98]
  • In the 2012 Captain Marvel story from Marvel comics, Carol Danvers travels through time to 1943 where she fights alongside a squad of Women Airforce Service Pilots on an island off the coast of Peru.[99]
  • The 2010 novel "Fly Girl" by Sherri L Smith tells the story of Ida-Mae "Jonesy" Jones, a poor African American woman who dreams of becoming a pilot. She joins the WASP and serves until the war's end.[100]
  • The 2013 novel "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion" tells the story of Fritzi and her sisters who helped out during the war by running their father's filling station and later flew with the WASPs.[101]
  • The 2010 novel "Silver Wings" by H.P. Munro tells the story of 6 women training at Avenger Field and their subsequent deployments. The story centers on Lily and Helen who meet and fall in love during their training.[102]
  • The 2010 historical novel "The Last Jump" relates the story of how male pilots of the top secret 509th Composite Group (who eventually dropped two atomic bombs) were "shamed" into flying the B-29 bomber by having WASP flyers deliver the first plane to Wendover AFB, Utah. CO Col. Paul Tibbets orchestrated the entire episode when he found out his "best pilots" were afraid to fly the "widowmaker".[103]
  • Season 3, Episode 15 of "Army Wives" is a flashback episode that mentions the WASP pilots from WWII
  • Meredith Dayna Levy wrote a play called 'Decision Height' which tells the story of six WASP trainees.[104]
  • Dallas playwright Rusty Harding wrote a play entitled 'Fly Babies", a fictionalized story based on the WASPs.[105]

See also



  1. ^ Maksel, Rebecca (May 22, 2014). "The Roald Dahl Aviation Story that Disney Refused to Film". Air & Space Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Cornwall Postmaster Ferried Warplanes in World War II," The Evening News, Oct 8, 1971, page 3a; "Women Pilots May Become Members of the Army Air Forces," The Reading Eagle, Nov. 1, 1943, page 20; "Veterans Begin Aid Fight," The Age, May 25, 1977, page 20; "Veterans Bill Advances," St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 4, 1977, page 3A; "Women in the military," Sarasota Harold Tribune, May 26, 1995, 5B; "Sunday's the Day for Washington Gals To Fly Somewhere for Breakfast," The Evening Independent, Jul. 31, 1947, page 6; "War Prisoner's Wife Enters Flying Group," Prescott Evening Courier, Jun, 16, 1944, page 8; and "Early Decision Pilots Her Through Life," Toledo Blade, Jan.10, 1975, page 10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Collins, Shannon (March 2, 2016). "WASPs Were Pioneers for Female Pilots of Today, Tomorrow". DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity. U.S. Department Of Defense.
  4. ^ McLellan, Dennis (October 23, 2000). "Adding a Missing Piece to Mosaic of American History". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  5. ^ DuBois, Ellen Carol; Dumenil, Lynn (2015-02-05). "9". Through Women's Eyes: An American History with Documents (Third ed.). Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martins. p. 549.
  6. ^ [1] Archived October 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Ure, James (2017). Seized by the Sun: The Life and Disappearance of World War II Pilot Gertrude Tompkins. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 9781613735909.
  8. ^ a b "Women Airforce Service Pilots Congressional Gold Medal". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Thune Recognizes Women Airforce Service Pilots from World War II". United States Senator John Thune. May 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  10. ^ "Women Ferrying Pilots – Requirements for Hiring – Pearl Harbor Filing Cabinet". Liberty Letters. September 15, 1942. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Pope, Victoria (2009). "Flight Of The Wasp". 59 (1).
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  • Clark, Marie Mountain. Dear Mother and Daddy: World War II Letters Home from a WASP. Livonia Michigan: First Page Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-928623-63-8.
  • Cole, Jean Hascall. Women Pilots of World War II. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-87480-493-5.
  • Dubois, Ellen Carol, Lynn Dumenil. "Women in the Military". Through Women's Eyes. Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. ISBN 978-0-312-67607-0.
  • Granger, Byrd Howell. On Final Approach: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of W.W.II. New York: Falconer Publishing Co., 1991. ISBN 978-0-9626267-0-8.
  • Haynsworth, Leslie and David Toomey. Amelia Earhart's Daughters. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1998. ISBN 978-0-688-15233-8.
  • Keil, Sally Van Wagenen, Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines: The Unknown Heroines of World War II. New York: Four Directions Press, 1990. ISBN 0-9627659-0-2.
  • LoPinto, Winnie, I was a Woman Pilot in 1945. Sheffield, UK: Green Leaf Publishing, 2001. ISBN 978-1-4912-8347-9
  • Merryman, Molly. Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. New York: New York University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8147-5568-2.
  • Noggle, Anne. For God, Country and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots During WWII. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. 1990. ISBN 978-0-89096-401-9.
  • Parrish, Nancy. WASP In Their Own Words – An Illustrated History of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Waco, Texas: Wings Across America Publications, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9703450-0-4.
  • Rickman, Sarah Byrn. Nancy Batson Crews: Alabama's First Lady of Flight. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2009. ISBN 0-8173-5553-7.
  • Rickman, Sarah Byrn. Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II (North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series). Denton, Texas:, 2008. ISBN 978-1-57441-241-3.
  • Schrader, Helena. Sisters in Arms: British and American Women Pilots During World War II. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen and Sword Books, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84415-388-6.
  • Simbeck, Rob. Daughter of the Air: The Brief Soaring Life of Cornelia Fort. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. 1999. ISBN 978-1-56000-461-5.
  • Strebe, Amy Goodpaster. Flying for her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. 2009. ISBN 978-1-59797-266-6.
  • Williams, Vera S. WASPs: Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 1994. ISBN 0-87938-856-0.

External links

National Museum of the USAF fact sheets

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