Welcome to the WASP Squadron home page. We’re glad you’re here.
The mission of the CAF WASP Squadron is to honor the Women Airforce Service Pilots and use their story to inspire young people to overcome current day challenges to achieve their dreams. This CAF RISE ABOVE educational initiative will encourage students to utilize six guiding principles: Aim High, Believe in Yourself, Use your Brain, Never Quit, Be Ready to Go, and Expect to Win.
Engineering test pilots
Doris Burmeister Nathan, 44-W-1; Elizabeth V. Chadwick Dressler, 43-W-8, Dorothy Dodd Eppstein, 44-W-1, Helen Skjersaa, 43-W-8
North American Aviation B-25 Mitchell medium bomber
(U.S. Air Force)
As noted by historian James Baldwin, “History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us. . .and history is literally present in all that we do.”
THEN and NOW
Dora Dougherty, one of 2 WASP who flew the B-29, when asked about flying it said she was concerned her hand wasn’t big enough to cover 4 throttles and she wasn’t strong enough to hold the controls. She tried, she succeeded. She reported that the B-29 was “the smoothest plane. . .” Dora also said with a grin, “It was so easy even a woman could do it.”
Debbie Travis King, the only woman in the world since 1943 authorized to fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, is seen here with Dora Dougherty aboard the Commemorative Air Force’s FIFI, one of two airworthy B-29s in the world and the only one that flies regularly.
Debbie began earning her flight certificates in high school and finished them in college at Texas A&M University. She earned her CFI and CFII directly after and later earned her jet ratings and Air Transport Pilot certificate. She has been an on-demand charter pilot, and now tours with the CAF B-29.
The WASP Story
The WASP of World War II forever changed the role women played/play in the military and aviation, by becoming the first women to fly American military aircraft.
The 1,074 WASP made direct, major contributions to the war effort by flying fighter and bomber aircraft from factories to bases, conducting searchlight missions, towing targets for live ammunition practice, and test-piloting new and repaired aircraft. WASP also served as instructors for those men that would go on to become combat pilots. All of which resulted in freeing men for combat, a role that would only come to women decades later.
Though every one of the 1,830 WASP trainees held a private or commercial pilot license, they were required to have 210 flight hours for basic training, instruments, cross country, advanced and multi-engine training. In addition, they were required to take 30 weeks of training in math, physics, navigation and more, for a total of 393 hours of ground school, while simultaneously learning and living the military way of life.
Despite the doubts of many, including military leaders, they flew every type of military aircraft, over 77 models. They logged over 60 million miles.
WASP were not a military unit, as such they received no military benefits. When it was announced in 1976 that the Air Force was going to have women flying military aircraft “for the first time,” the WASP mobilized to gain recognition for their service. WASP received military status in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medals in 2009.
They “Rose Above” expectations.
Aim High The women who would become the WASP were women that had already demonstrated their interest in and love of flying by becoming pilots when it wasn’t an accepted path for women. These women would now pursue their interest to a new level: flying military airplanes. It was hard work, the challenges were innumerable, but it was a rare opportunity.
Believe in Yourself Even though the world around them did not believe that “flying was for girls,” they knew that they wanted to try. They believed in their ability. Self confidence allowed them to apply …over 55% of those accepted succeeded by graduating
Use Your Brain All of the women who would become WASP had flown and become pilots prior to applying to the WASP program. To become a pilot they not only learned the skill of the actual piloting, but studied navigation and principles of flight, took flying lessons, and practiced. They used their brains to achieve their ability to fly.
Never Quit The WASP would find that even after being accepted to train – they would still have much to learn. It was more than flying; it was about learning a new culture (military), becoming an instrument pilot, and living in Spartan conditions. Perseverance was the key to achieving their goal.
Be Ready to Go When America was attacked at Pearl Harbor, male pilots were needed for combat. To fill the non combat tasks women were now invited to apply to become WASP. However, the program only accepted women who already had flight training – only those women who had begun preparing themselves as pilots would have the opportunity to go one step further and become military pilots.
Expect to Win Because of the challenges they all shared, the WASP became a tight knit group that supported one another – working together they were able to perform tasks beyond the expectations of so many. They expected to fly the B29, they expected to ferry planes, tow targets, test new and repaired planes, and train male combat pilot. And they did. Years later when the WASP campaigned for recognition of their contributions, they once again worked together; they expected to win. And they did.
CAF WASP SQUADRON LEADERSHIP
|Squadron Leader:||Debbie Kingemail@example.com|
|Executive Officer:||Ellie Danafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Finance Officer:||Beth Jenkinsemail@example.com|
|Adjutant Officer:||Lisa Fosterfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Maintenance Officer:||Don Obreiteremail@example.com|
|Squadron Historian:||Elaine Webbfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Public Information Officer:||Kim Pardonemail@example.com|