The Original Fly Girls

 
Ata-wings-300.jpg
 
I grew up in a family where both parents were aviators, so it is no surprise that I was hooked on aviation as a child.  My mother was an ATA aviator during World War II; my father an US Army Air Corp pilot.
 
Women pilots of the British Air Transport Auxiliary had nearly the same privileges and status as their male colleagues.  Unfortunately, their sisters  in the American Women’s Air Force Service Pilots  (WASP) were denied those same privileges. The women of the ATA were praised for their contribution to the war effort while the WASP were disbanded and sent home to make way for men who wanted their jobs.
 
The WASP contribution to the war was publicly ignored until 1976, when the USAF made the mistake of ‘welcoming the first women ever to be allowed to fly’ into their ranks. 
 
Can you say OOPS?
 
 Four WASP in front of their plane called Pistol Packin' Mama
Courtesy of Texas Woman’s University

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.
 
Tomorrow, finally … sixty five years later, the WASP’s will be officially recognised for their service, and the survivors will gather to be presented with one of this countries highest awards… the Congressional Gold Medal.
 
As one who was able to fly for her country because of your service to yours, I salute you.
 
Note: Clicking on The Original Fly Girls will take to you NPR.ORG and more on this important part of American history.
 

 

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About Gwendolyn McIntyre

Author, editor, businesswoman, musician, lover of jazz and horses. Chief investigator of all things that go BUMP in the night.
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