Female Pilot of the US Women’s Air Force Service, 1943
The women who served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) flew military aircraft during non-combat missions throughout the United States’ involvement in World War II. These squads of servicewomen freed up male pilots for service in combat missions in the European and Pacific theaters. Of the over 25,000 applicants to the service, only 1,830 were accepted.
In total, the WASP enlistees flew more than 60 million miles over the course of the war. But it wasn’t until 1977 that their vital contributions to the war effort were officially recognized by the U.S. Government, in the form of official veteran status. In 2009, these brave women were honored again, when President Obama signed a bill into law which awarded all WASPs with the Congressional Gold Medal.