"This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used." Eleanor Roosevelt
SEPTEMBER 1, 1942: “MY DAY” by Eleanor Roosevelt. (syndicated column)
America was fighting in World War II. All available male pilots were in combat. The military still needed pilots.
The solution was simple...train women pilots to do the jobs!
At first it was to be ferrying small planes to sites to go into combat. As the military's need for pilots grew, so did flying assignments and this social experiment.
"Today, (a) woman's place is where she is needed, and until this war is won, that place is in the cockpit of ships women can fly from factory to field and, by doing so, release men pilots for combat duty."
Nancy Love was the first woman to fly military planes in the United States. The Women's Auxilary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) that became part of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was started under her leadership. Six WASP ferrying squadrons had remarkable records of achievement under Loves' leadership.
Mrs. Nancy Love was appointed Senior Squadron Leader of the WAFS by the Secretary of War. No better choice could have been made. First and most important she is a good pilot, has tremendous enthusiasm and belief in women pilots and did a wonderful job in helping us to be accepted on an equal status with men.
“They didn’t expect recognition,” said Robinson. The women flew because they wanted to help the war effort. By ferrying the planes at home, they freed up male pilots for combat. They faced discrimination which now seems silly: for instance, to protect their reputations they were not allowed to be in the same transports as men. When they flew a plane to a base, they couldn’t just take the army bus back. They had to wait for all-female transportation. “They persevered, despite all this. They were there to fly.”
WASP from the documentary "Wings of Their Own"
" Those years that I was a member of the WAFS