WASPS–Women Pilots of WWII Honored

I really had no idea that there were female fighter pilots in WWII. These women were finally honored with a medal for their service many years overdue.

“Women weren’t doctors, lawyers, engineers. I could be a nurse, a librarian or a teacher. Those were my choices. And if it wasn’t for the war and the fact that they were so short of pilots that they condescended to let us enter the sanctum sanctorum. And they let us know that. They let us in because they needed us. They needed pilots.”
– Kaddy Steele, WASP 1942-1944

From 1942 to 1944, more than 1,000 women were trained to ferry aircraft, test planes, instruct male pilots, and tow targets for anti-aircraft artillery practice. The women came from all socioeconomic backgrounds: teachers, nurses, secretaries, factory workers, waitresses, students, housewives, debutantes, actresses, even a Ziegfield chorus girl.

Margaret Callihan gets out of a plane at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, TX. Photo courtesy of The Woman’s Collection, Texas Woman’s University.
On the surface, their differences seemed vast, but knew they all shared one commonality ‚ a passion for flying.

“We thought we’d died and gone to heaven,” WASP Caro Bayley Bosca said. “We would have done it for free. It was hot, we were tired, we were sticky half the time, but we were having a ball because we had those airplanes and we all loved to fly.”

They were pioneers, and as such they often faced disbelief and resentment from male officers. Nonetheless, the female pilots were fearless and committed. Thirty-eight women would be killed in the line of duty.

Here are some fantastic pictures of these true heroes. Hope you are having a great week friends!


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Join the Discussion!

  1. Cool pics, Kori! Believe it or not, I have a calendar that my dad gave me which has a bunch of old WWII plane pics, and the next to last pic you have shown ( of 4 lady pilots) was the January pic! Really cool that folks are learning about the sacrifices EVERYBODY made for the war… thanks for the info!


  2. I just saw that on the news the other day. They were amazing and I can’t believe it took so long to honor them! They are true, true heros! Jennifer:)

  3. Thank you for posting this entry. It touches home. Even though I’m not a pilot, I still make up a small percentage of the military women. It is inspiring when people, especially other women, learn about these things and take pride in them.

    Thought you might light this bit of info too:
    (Figures from a report published in 2006).

    Total number of active duty women in the military, as of Sept. 30, 2004. Of that total,
    35,100 women were officers and 177,000 were enlisted.
    (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006, Table 501.)

    Proportion of members of the armed forces who were women, as of Sept. 30, 2004. In 1950, women comprised fewer than 2 percent.
    (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006, Table 501.)

    1.7 million
    The number of military veterans who are women.
    (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006, Table 510.)

    Taken from: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/006232.html

    This site has a lot of other statistical information about women.

    Also- a well-known statistic passed around in the forces to boost our morale: The military makes up only 1% (this is a static figure) of the entire population. Shocking, huh?

  4. Bonjour Kori,
    What a fantastic post, I knew women were in the military but never realized they were pilots as well. It is about time they were honored for their service!
    Happy Friday!

  5. I just love these vintage posts!
    I recently saw a documentary on the WASP’s, and it was fantastic. Truly heroic these women, not just because of the role they played in the war but for the historic role they played in reference to the women’s movement. Whether their male counterparts liked it or not, they were there because they were just as capable as them, equals in their capacity to get the job done!
    Great post, Kori!!

  6. Oh Yeah…I knew there were women pilots during the war. Can you imagine how tough it must have been for them??? Talk about a “man’s world”…These women deserve a lot more than just medals.
    WTH is with our country??? Unless you are in the mainstream of things history overlooks you???
    Great Post!

  7. Woa I did not know that there were Female Pilots in WWII. I always heard about the factory workers women & the nurses. Way to go for them!!! They should be honored, they deserve every award they can be given!

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