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USA Women's Airforce Service Pilots

We welcome contact from relatives of these girls in order to place a page to them and perhaps, with your permission, pass on the information to Flygirls .

In 1942, the United States was faced with a severe shortage of pilots, and leaders gambled on an experimental program to help fill the void: Train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas.

The group of female pilots was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short. In 1944, during the graduation ceremony for the last WASP training class, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Henry 'Hap' Arnold, said that when the program started, he wasn't sure 'whether a slip of a girl could fight the controls of a B-17 in heavy weather.'

'Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,' Arnold said.

WASP (from left) Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leave their B-17, called Pistol Packin' Mama, during ferry training at Lockbourne Army Air Force base in Ohio. They're carrying their parachutes.

A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew almost every type of military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program. They ferried new planes long distances from factories to military bases and departure points across the country. They tested newly overhauled planes. And they towed targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting — with live ammunition. The WASP expected to become part of the military during their service. Instead, the program was canceled after just two years.

They weren't granted military status until the 1970s. And now, 65 years after their service, they will receive the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Congress. Last July, President Obama signed a bill awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

We are assisting Joanne Gaishin who is working with Matia Karrell (director of Red Door Films), with promoting 'FlyGirls.' It's in development and will be a dramatic mini-series about the WASP and is based on the book 'The Final Approach.' They have reached out to Aircrew Remembered to see if we might help. The funding campaign will start late October 2015. They want to have the WASP recognized and remembered with the help of their series.

There is a specialist site dedicated to the contribution made by the Flygirls, which we recommend.

Listen to the Radio Diaries podcast about the Flygirls from National Public Radio (NPR) in the USA:

For material on other women flyers:

For material on women Secret Agents and Resistance Fighters:

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SY Aug 2015

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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Last Modified: 13 December 2022, 14:59

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