Post by Doris McCraw
There is something about devotion to the awareness we are meant for something bigger than ourselves. As we in the United States celebrate Memorial Day, it seemed appropriate to honor and learn about a few who did just that.
Sarah Bryn Rickman has devoted many hours, days, weeks and years to researching and telling the stories of the WAFS and WASP of World War II. Take the time to visit her website and the biographies and books she has written. There are stories there that will make you proud to be a woman. WASP WAFS
So, what is WASP, and how did it fit into the larger picture of WWII? It is an acronym for the Women Airforce Service Pilots. With the war pulling so many young men into service overseas and at home, there was a need for pilots to ferry planes from factories to shipping points overseas. The women who made up the WAFS and WASP flew every type of military aircraft of the period. They taught others, were test pilots, ferried aircraft and flew decoy planes for training exercises.
Some of the women who made up this organization went on to live such quiet lives after the war, many who met them had no concept of the contribution they’d made. One lady, who according to staff. visited the library I use, was one such. Many were surprised to learn of her exploits. I often regret never getting the chance to meet and get to know her.
These brave women are now getting some of the recognition they richly deserve. They were granted Veteran status in 1977 and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. Unfortunately not all lived to see these awards, but all are worth remembering and honoring.
Here is a list of the first group of WAFS, a predecessor to the WASP:
Bernice L Batten, Delphine Bohn, Aline Rhonie Brooks, Esther L N Carpenter, Helen Mary Clark, Nancy Batson Crews, Barbara Towne Fasken, Kathryn Bernheim Fine, Cornelia Fort, Phyllis B Fulton, Betty Huyler Gillies, Teresa D James, Gertrude Meserve Tuffs LeValley, Barbara J Erickson London, Nancy Harkness Love, Lenora L McElroy, Helen McGilvery, Helen Richards Prosser, Katherine Thompson Rawls, Barbara Donahue Ross, Adela Reik Scharr, Dorothy Scott, Evelyn Sharp, Barbara Poole Shoemaker, Dorothy Fulton Slinn, Florene Miller Watson, Esther Manning Westervelt, Betsy Ferguson Woodward.
You can find additional information and additional class lists at: http://www.twu.edu/library/wasp_listing.asp
I strongly urge each reader of this post find out more about these amazing women, for their stories will not disappoint. I am not the expert on these women, but I know enough to want to know more.
Doris Gardner-McCraw writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here