Monday, 17 June 2013

WASPS WWII: Those magnificent men in their flying machines

Just men - not bloody likely.  The women during WWII, the WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots), were amongst the most accomplished pilots that we rarely here hailed for their hearty efforts.  These women could and did fly the biggest range of aircraft, by themselves no less, than any other pilots during those times.  These women weren't used to participate in active warfare, but were utilised to do a diverse range of military duties from ferrying aircraft between landing locations to providing supplies.

Women Airforce Service Pilots 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elizabeth L. Gardner, WASP, at the controls of a B-26 Marauder
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) predecessors: The Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) organized separately in September 1942. They were the pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots, employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The WFTD and WAFS were merged on August 5, 1943, to create the paramilitary WASP organization. The female pilots of the WASP ended up numbering 1,074, each freeing a male pilot for combat service and duties. They flew over 60 million miles in every type of military aircraft.[1] The WASP was granted veteran status in 1977, and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.[2][3]
Twenty-five thousand women applied to join the WASP, but only 1,830 were accepted and took the oath. Out of these, only 1,074 of them passed the training and joined.[1][4]

There is a wealth of material out there on this topic.  What started me off was a great doco on the History Channel.  Further reading: 
 Fly Girls
WASP Museum 

Women Pilots in the Army 
Women Pilots of WWII 

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