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WOMEN'S AIRFORCE SERVICE PILOTS

Posted 10/28/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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North American P-51D
A WASP with a North American P-51D Mustang. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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To help meet the tremendous need for personnel, women pilots were first employed by the Ferrying Division of the Air Transport Command in September, 1942. At the same time a training program was begun to train women pilots for ferrying and other duties. Now known as the Women's Airforce Service Pilots or WASPS, they are doing an effective job of delivering aircraft in the United States, from the smallest planes to P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and C-47 Skytrain transports. By January 1st, 1944, about one thousand women, including trainees, will be on duty. Not all qualified applicants can be accepted for training, since the Army Air Forces cannot train or utilize women pilots at the expense of training and experience needed for men pilots in the theaters of war.

The WASP helps fill the need for professional non-combat service. For example, the Training Command uses many women pilots to ferry airplanes to and from certain bases for major repairs or overhaul. However, in recent months the WASP has assumed additional duties -- towing targets in gunnery schools, acting as co-pilots on night searchlight missions, and the like. Women pilots are also flying some of the weather planes which take meteorologists aloft. Indeed, this organization has come to serve a variety of useful purposes in the Army Air Force organization.

This report was prepared by the Army Air Forces and is dated Jan. 4, 1944.

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