Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Fly Girls, the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII

Soon after he entered office, President Biden issued an executive order allowing transgender people to serve in the military. It was the latest in a long series of shifts in who can serve and who can’t. Not long ago, fighting in combat was for men only, and it wasn’t until 1993 that congress lifted a ban against women flying in combat — Jeannie Leavitt became America’s first female fighter pilot. She flew a total of 300 combat hours over Iraq and Afghanistan. But women actually started flying military aircraft much earlier than that… 5 decades earlier. During World War II.

At the time, thousands of new airplanes were coming off assembly lines and needed to be delivered to military bases nationwide, but most of America’s pilots were overseas fighting the war. So the Air Force launched an experimental program to train hundreds of female pilots. They were called the Women Airforce Service Pilots… the Wasps.

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