Life on the Homefront

Who protected the homefront?

WASP- Women's Airforce Service Pilots

The WASP were employed to fly Military planes during WWII. During WWII they flew over 60 million miles in every type of Military aircraft. The WASP was guaranteed veteran status in 1977, and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. Out of the 25,000 women who applied to join WASP, only 1,074 passed training and joined.

Creation of the WASP

In the summer of 1941, Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran and Nancy Harkness Love submitted proposals to the U.S. Army Air Forces to use women pilots in non-combat missions during WWII in Europe. Prior to Pearl Harbor the USAAF turned down their proposal.
In 1942, Henry Arnold and Harold George finally approved their proposal

WASP training

Each WASP had a pilot's license and were trained at the Avenger Field in Sweetwater, TX. Out of the 25,000 that applied to be in the WASP, only 1,074 were accepted and became the first women to fly military aircraft. Their training was basically the same as aviation cadets, but the WASP was not trained for combat. They did not know how to use guns or how to fly in formation, but were able to recover from any position. 11 lives were lost in training accidents.

WASP in action

WASP were supposed to bring aircraft from base to base and test planes before the were flown in combat. Jackie Cochran had said the WASP would do any job that would relieve men from combat duty. Because of this, WASP flew all of the same military aircraft as the USAAF (United States Army Air Force). Some specially trained WASP even flew rocket propelled planes.

After WWII

WASP records were hidden, so little is known about their war efforts. WASP didn't have any military status. Overall, 38 WASP died. In 1984, each WASP was awarded the World War II Victory Medal. On May 10, 2010, President Obama and the US Congress awarded WASP with the Congressional Gold Medal which is an award given to a person or persons who have performed a major achievement that had an impact on American History and Culture.