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  • WASP Epilogue

    The WASP pilots were an important element in the movement of women into war work to free men for combat and other duties. Gen. H.H. Arnold, speaking before the last WASP graduating class at Sweetwater, Texas, on Dec. 7, 1944, paid tribute to them in this manner:"You ... have shown that you can fly wingtip to wingtip with your brothers. If ever
  • WASP Disbanded

    WASPs had the privileges of officers, but they were never formally adopted into the USAAF even though they were led to believe this would happen. They remained civil service employees without injury or death benefits. In 1944 bills in Congress to militarize the WASPs met with strong opposition from some individuals, including famed columnist Drew
  • WASPs Demonstrate Their Abilities

    Women pilots sometimes encountered resentment from males. For example, the only WASP in a P-47 class of 36 males was considered an intruder -- until she became the fourth in the group to solo in the huge fighter. WASPs later routinely ferried P-47s from the factory.WASPs made demonstration flights in the "hot" B-26 Marauder and the new B-29
  • WASP Created

    In August 1943 all women pilots flying for the USAAF were consolidated into the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program with Jacqueline Cochran as USAAF Director for Women Pilots. Nancy Harkness Love was named as WASP executive on the Air Transport Command Ferrying Division staff. More than 25,000 women applied for pilot training under the
  • Women’s Flying Training Detachment

    Meanwhile, under Jacqueline Cochran, a training program for women pilots was approved on Sept. 15, 1942, as the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). The 23-week training program begun at Houston included 115 hours of flying time. Training soon moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas, and increased to 30 weeks with 210 hours of flying.
  • Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron

    The Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), never numbering more than 28, was created in September 1942 within the Air Transport Command, under Nancy Harkness Love's leadership. WAFS were recruited from among commercially licensed women pilots with at least 500 hours flying time and a 200-hp rating. (Women who joined the WAFS actually averaged
  • WASP: Breaking Ground for Today’s Female USAF Pilots

    As early as 1930, the War Department had considered using women pilots but the Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps had called the idea "utterly unfeasible," stating that women were too "high strung." Famed woman aviator Jacqueline Cochran in 1939 wrote Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of then-President Franklin Roosevelt) to suggest women pilots could be
  • WWII Pierced Steel Planking

    The PSP landing mats under the Type F-1A heater and the Bell P-39Q aircraft represent the most commonly used form of World War II prefabricated runway material. They could be joined together with hand tools and provided a hard runway surface even suitable for bombers, where lack of time, materials or equipment prevented the use of normal runway
  • Winning Their Wings: Advanced Flying School

    Advanced flying school prepared a cadet for the kind of single- or multi-engine airplane he was to fly in combat. Those who went to single-engine school flew AT-6s for the first 70 hours during a nine-week period, learning aerial gunnery and combat maneuvers and increasing their skills in navigation, formation and instrument flying.Cadets assigned
  • Winged Boot: Escape and Evasion in World War II

    Air operations during World War II were often conducted far behind enemy lines, and thousands of U.S. Army Air Forces airmen evaded capture after they were brought down. Some of those who were captured escaped from prison camps and made their way back to Allied territory. Escape and evasion during WWII demanded skill and courage to return with
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