For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

TitleFor God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsNoggle, Anne
Number of Pages160
PublisherTexas A&M University Press
CityCollege Station, TX

American women pilots garnered much attention during the Gulf War, but American women were in fact military pilots as far back as World War II. In this volume, the author attempts to capture the spirit of these dynamic aviation pioneers. In 1943-44, the author was a WASP--a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots group, the country's first women military pilots. She and her colleagues disproved assertions that women would be too emotional or high-strung to fly military aircraft. They flew every type of plane in use at the time, initially ferrying aircraft wherever they were needed and later serving as test pilots and "enemy" in training maneuvers for male combat flyers. Earning $50 a month less than male counterparts in noncombatant roles, WASPs were called on several times to test planes, such as the P-39, that male flyers had declared "flying coffins." The women flyers had better records and adhered to flight regulations, and after their test flights the military declared that the planes were indeed safe to fly--if flown properly. Still, thirty-eight WASPs did lose their lives on active duty. Not until 1979, however, did Congress affirm that these women had been in active military service and were thus eligible for veterans' benefits. 

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