WASP Creation

Meanwhile plans were being made for the merging of the WAFS and the WFTD. Just prior to this merger and the establishment of the Office of Director of Women Pilots, General Arnold sent to Brig. Gen. M. G. White, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, a draft of a memorandum addressed to General Marshall requesting that legislation be initiated to militarize women pilots and incorporate them into the AAF. Such action would not entail the organization of a new women's group. In presenting his arguments against inclusion of the WAAC (or WAC should it be militarized), General Arnold outlined differences in educational and physical qualifications required by the AAF and the WAAC. General Arnold asked General White for his "frank reaction."* In reply to this proposal General White stated that he did not believe the recommended action to be either necessary or desirable and that he felt, following the creation of the Women's Army Corps, standards pertaining to women pilots could be worked out which would be entirely satisfactory to the AAF.**

Soon thereafter the WAFS and the WFTD were merged under Miss Jacqueline Cochran as Director of Women Pilots.*** About this time conversations were resumed with Colonel Hobby concerning the possibility of including women pilots in the WAAC. From the record of the discussion it was apparent that a number of compromises would have to be worked out if this type of militarization were to be effected. Moreover, a dispute developed over the type of person who should administer the program. Miss Cochran argued that since "women pilots are very temperamental," their "administration should be handled by people who do understand them -- not by people who have no appreciation of the type of work they are doing."

Col. H[obby]: I don't know what you mean by administration.
Miss C[ochran]: I mean people over them who understand their problems.
Col. H: I don't think it is very likely that you would have anybody over them who didn't.
Miss C.: Yes, I think so.****

Shortly afterward General Arnold directed that the whole matter be held up for from 60 to 90 days at the expiration of which time plans were to be presented for the militarization of women pilots or their removal from Civil Service.*****

* Memo for Gen. George C. Marshall by Gen. Arnold, n.d., with memo for Gen. White by Gen. Arnold, 16 June 1943, AAG 211D, Pilots.
** Memo for CG AAF by Brig. Gen. M. G. White, 20 June 1943, in AAG 324.5, WASP Bill -- Pending Leg., Bulk.
*** AAF Memo No. 20-4, 28 June 1943. 
**** Conversation between Colonel Hobby, Miss Cochran, and Col. R. H. Carmichael, 25 June 1943, in AAG
211D, Pilots. 
***** Report on question of Militarization of Women Pilots, in files of D/WP.

Source: AAF Historical Study No. 55 prepared by CWO J. Merton England in 1946.

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