The Original Fly Girls
In 1942, the United States was faced with a severe shortage of pilots, and leaders gambled on an experimental program to help fill the void: Train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas. During World War II more than one thousand women served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
They ferried planes long distances from factories to military bases and departure points across the country. They tested newly overhauled planes. And they towed canvas targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting — with live ammunition.
The WASP was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing. The WASP expected to become part of the military during their service.
The program went into operation publicly Sept. 1942. Requirements for recruits were that they had to be between ages 21 and 35, have a high school diploma, a flying license, five-hundred hours of flight time and be at least five foot two inches tall. The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944.
Natalie J. Stewart-Smith will share their stories as fliers, patriots and women who had to fight for the right to be called veterans. She has been an educator for over 25 years and taught at the elementary, high school, and college levels. As a former Army officer and historian, she is interested in women’s contributions to the military, particularly those who served as military aviators.
This class will be presented via Zoom and is limited to 100 participants. The class is free but registration is required. Registered attendees will receive the Zoom invitation a few days prior to the event.
DATE: Monday, Mar 1
ZOOM Check In: 9:45 a.m.
LECTURE Time: 10:00 a.m.
COST: No charge
MAXIMUM: 100 - there will be a waitlist
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