The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)
The Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, were a select few of only 1,074 women who passed the rigorous training of military flying school and became part of the United States Army Air Forces. They flew just about every type of aircraft at the time and logged more than 60 million miles. It wasn’t until 1977 when the records of the WASPs were unsealed that the women were recognized as veterans of WWII.
The WASPs were formed to ferry aircraft, tow gunnery practice targets, and test aircraft in the U.S. while thousands of men were sent into combat overseas. Dozens of WASPs flew nearly every AAF aircraft type from six bases in Arizona. The patriotic sacrifice, service, and success of the WASPs, many of which were Arizonans, directly contributed to military aviation. Many died in the line of duty and many faced continuing prejudice, yet went they on to ferry more than 50% of the combat aircraft used to win WWII. That was only one of their many feats contributed to victory in Europe and the Pacific and current policies enabling women to serve as aviators in the U.S. military.