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Female Pilots From The ’40s Finally Get Recognition

During World War II, when the United States faced a pilot shortage, more than 1,100 women filled the gap. Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) served as civilian volunteers from 1942 to 1944, flying new planes from factories to military bases, testing planes, and towing targets to give gunners training (they flew planes with a moving target attached so military men could practice their shooting skills — yikes).

At first, people weren’t sure whether they could handle flying military aircraft. But at the final WASP graduation ceremony, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, acknowledged the lady pilots’ abilities, saying, “Now, in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men.” Keep reading »

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